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Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Background Facts

As you may know by now, Rita Leblanc, granddaughter of Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans before he died on March 18, 2018, secretly recorded a conversation she had with Benson about why her mother, Renee Leblanc, had contacted Tom Benson’s bookkeeper directly, instead of going through him. The recording was a critical piece of evidence in the family feud between Tom Benson and Renee LeBlanc and Rita LeBlanc, the daughter and granddaughter of Tom Benson respectively. The feud began after Tom Benson made his wife, Gayle Benson, the heir to his multi-billion-dollar business fortune. The feud played out in court in New Orleans in June 2015 where Judge Kern Reese, after an eight day trial, ruled in Tom Benson’s favor by holding that Benson should not be interdicted. An interdiction is a process in court where a Judge is asked to determine whether a person is unable, because of an ailment such as a mental illness, to make decisions regarding his person and/or his property. In this case, Rita and Renee LeBlanc unsuccessfully attempted to convince Judge Kern Reese of the New Orleans Civil District Court that Benson should be interdicted on the grounds that he was too mentally debilitated to alter his will. For more details of the court proceedings, see the New Orleans Advocate article written by Ramon Antonio Vargas at https://bit.ly/2Af3uu4 .

The Trial Court Proceeding

During an eight day trial in a closed court, Judge Reese was presented with voluminous amounts of conflicting lay and medical witness testimony. Judge Reese found that Mr. Benson should not be interdicted and that Mr. Benson had a right not to testify at the trial. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with Judge Reese. In Re Benson 216 So.3d 950 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/24/16).

The Secret Recording of Tom Benson by Rita Leblanc

On December 19, 2014, Rita Leblanc secretly recorded a conversation that she had with Benson. That recording was introduced into evidence at the trial by LeBlanc’s attorney to show that Benson,  who  was immobile, after being relegated to a wheelchair, and required twenty-four hour nursing assistance for his care, and who had been  prescribed a number of medications for his various maladies, including alleged mental illnesses.

Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc is not illegal?

In Louisiana, under La. R.S. 15:1303(C)(4, 5), Louisiana’s Electronic Surveillance Act, the recording, interception, use or disclosure of any oral or telephonic communication by means of any mechanical or electronic device is legal as long as one party to the conversation consents. In the case of Rita Leblanc’s because she consented to the secret recording of the conversation that she had with her grandfather Tom Benson, the recording is legal.

 

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published July 28, 2018.

 

 

By |2018-07-28T12:35:01+00:00July 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Why the Suspect in the Trader Joe’s Shooting In California Could Not Be Guilty Of Murder In Louisiana?

What happened?

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer fired the bullet that struck and killed a Trader Joe’s employee when LAPD officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect in an attempted murder case. The officer who killed the Trader Joe’s employee was chasing the suspect who was suspected of shooting his grandmother hours earlier in the day and had led officers on a high speed chase in the Hollywood area. After the suspect crashed his car into a utility pole next to the Trader Joe’s store, he fired at police and ran into the store. The officers who were pursuing the suspect returned fire. One of the officers’ bullets struck the Trader Joe’s employee, killing her. After the suspect ran into the market, he shot several more times at police from inside Trader Joe’s and took several customers hostage.

The Charges Against the Suspect

The suspect faces several charges including murder, kidnapping, fleeing a pursing peace officer’s vehicle, grand theft, premeditated attempted murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, and false imprisonment of a hostage. Of particular note is that fact that the suspect was charged with the murder of the Trader Joe’s employee although he did not fire the bullet that ended up killing the employee. The suspect was apparently arrested in part with the felony murder of the Trader Joe’s employee. Felony murder is a death caused by a defendant committing or attempting to commit a limited number of inherently dangerous felonies. The dangerous felonies include the litany of felonies listed above.

Why the Suspect Could Not Be Found Guilty of Murder in Louisiana

If the event occurred in Louisiana, although the suspect could be convicted of statutory crimes similar to those in California, the suspect could not be convicted of murder in Louisiana. That is because in Louisiana, felony murder is committed only when the defendant or one of his accomplices is the shooter. The defendant is not responsible for a murder in Louisiana when a person in an encounter is killed by a police officer. Stated differently, a felony murder is only committed in Louisiana when the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a  felony such as aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated or first degree rape, forcible or second degree rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, terrorism, cruelty to juveniles, or second degree cruelty to juveniles.

Because Louisiana has adopted the agency theory, which states that felony murder does not extend those deaths resulting from the commission of an enumerated felony if not committed by the defendant or one of his accomplices, the suspect could not be guilty of murder in Louisiana. Some states, however, have adopted the proximate cause theory in felony murder cases. Under the proximate cause theory, a defendant is liable for “any death proximately resulting from the unlawful activity—notwithstanding the fact that the killing was by a police officer or other person who was resisting the crime. The proximate cause theory also requires that the death be a foreseeable consequence of the felony. Of course, death of an innocent bystander is a foreseeable consequence of a shootout with the police, a high speed chase, kidnappings, and attempted murder of police officers.

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

 

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published July 25, 2018.

By |2018-08-02T04:00:08+00:00July 25th, 2018|Criminal Defense Laws New Orleans Louisiana, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why the Suspect in the Trader Joe’s Shooting In California Could Not Be Guilty Of Murder In Louisiana?

When Can A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) In Louisiana Be Suspended?

When Can A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) In Louisiana Be Suspended?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs)

This blog post will discuss the the circumstances under which a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Louisiana can be suspended for DWI related offenses.

La. R.S. 32:414.2 contains different suspension periods for commercial licensees for different offenses, ranging from 60 days to a lifetime suspension or disqualification. A person may not drive a commercial motor vehicle in Louisiana if he is disqualified for any reason.

Generally, Louisiana drivers can lose their CDL licenses either on a temporary or permanent basis.

The degree of loss depends on whether the violation in question is characterized as major (which always gives rise to some form of disqualification) or serious (which cumulatively leads to disqualification).

 

First, an act of operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) constitutes implied consent to be tested for any trace of alcohol, or controlled substances.

A person will lose his commercial driver’s license for at least one year for a first offense for:

  • being convicted of, or being disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle at an administrative hearing, after a first reported submission to a chemical test in connection with an arrest, while operating any motor vehicle, commercial or noncommercial, for (1) operating under the influence of alcohol, (2) operating with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, or (3) operating under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance;

 

  • being convicted of, or being disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle at an administrative hearing, after a first reported submission to a chemical test in connection with an arrest, while operating a commercial motor vehicle, for operating with an alcohol concentration of at least 0.04 percent but under an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more;

 

  • a first conviction, while operating any vehicle, commercial or noncommercial, for operating under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance;

 

  • using any motor vehicle, commercial or noncommercial, in the commission of a felony not described in Subparagraph (A)(2)(a) of La. R.S. 32:414.2;

 

  • a first offense of leaving the scene of an accident in any vehicle, commercial or noncommercial;

 

  • a first offense of refusal to submit to an alcohol concentration or drug test, while operating any motor vehicle, commercial or noncommercial;

 

  • a first offense of operating a commercial motor when, as a result of prior violations committed while operating a commercial motor vehicle, the driver’s commercial driver’s license is suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified;  or

 

  • a first offense of causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a commercial motor vehicle, including but not limited to the offenses of manslaughter, negligent homicide, and vehicular homicide.

 

Under La. R.S. 32:414.2, a conviction, for purposes of compliance with federal motor carrier rules, means a disqualification under La. R.S. 32:414.2(A)(4) for which a timely administrative hearing  request has not been received or a disqualification which has been affirmed after an administrative hearing.  Additionally, a conviction under La. R.S. 32:414.2 also means an unvacated adjudication of guilt or a determination in a court of original jurisdiction or by an authorized administrative tribunal that a person has violated or faled to comply with the law. A conviction also includes “an unvacated forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure the person’s appearance in court; a plea of guilty or nolo contendere accepted by a court; the payment of a fine or court costs; or a violation of a condition of release without bail, regardless of whether the penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.” La. R.S. 32:414.2(A)(9)(a).

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published June 4, 2018.

By |2018-08-02T03:41:29+00:00June 4th, 2018|Commercial Drivers License Defense New Orleans Louisiana, DUI/DWI Defense Attorney New Orleans, Uncategorized|Comments Off on When Can A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) In Louisiana Be Suspended?

PROTECTIVE ORDER LAWS

A protective order is a court-certified document prohibiting the person named in the order from getting within a certain distance of the person who requested that the order be issued. Protective orders, also known as restraining or stay away orders, are mostly used in cases involving domestic abuse, stalking, and sexual assault. If the protective order is violated, the likely consequence is an arrest and a criminal charge.

Although obtaining and enforcing a protective order may sound like a rather simple process, the truth is that it involves a number of legal and emotional intricacies. There are three types of protective orders: long-term protective orders, temporary restraining orders, and emergency temporary restraining orders. Regardless of the type of protective order, the federal government has put in place certain protection order laws, and the federal government, demands that individual states honor and enforce valid orders issued by other states. This is only one of the reasons why it is imperative that one seeks legal assistance when dealing with a protective order matter. Don’t wait, we are here to help! Call us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (504) 302-2462.

Our goal is to keep you out of jail and at home with your family where you belong. Regardless of the seriousness of the crime you have been accused of, we can help. Don’t wait! Call us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (504) 302-2462.

“Play your cards well, call Gaynell!”

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law.

Published May 28, 2018.

By |2018-08-02T04:04:41+00:00May 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on PROTECTIVE ORDER LAWS

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – LOUISIANA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS

With domestic violence cases being discussed almost daily on various media outlets, there is hardly anyone who is not at least slightly familiar with the nature and consequences of these kinds of offenses. However, what often goes unsaid is that law enforcement and the judiciary have zero tolerance for domestic violence cases and are reluctant to show any leniency, often imposing the harshest sentences available. Because domestic violence cases usually occur in family settings or between individuals who are emotionally close — causing a societal and political condemnation — they may be extremely hard to defend. Furthermore, what makes defending these cases even harder are some common misconceptions.

First, following the arrest of the accused abuser, chances are that the alleged victim would likely to either drop the charges or not press any charges. However, the decision whether or not to proceed with the case will actually be made by the prosecutor, not by the victim. And, given the aforementioned policy to fight these kinds of cases, prosecutors will not pass on an opportunity to put the alleged abuser behind bars.

Second, an arrest for domestic violence will frequently be accompanied by a stay away order or a protective order. And the violation of a protective order may be a separate criminal charge in itself.

Lastly, domestic violence charges are very serious and can lead to grave consequences such as jail time, hefty fines, home evictions, deprivation of the right to own a firearm, and difficulty in finding or keeping a job. Regardless of whether one is facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge, the penalties can be quite severe. And because domestic violence is an enhanceable offense, stricter sentences come with each additional conviction. These offenses are also not eligible for expungement under Louisiana law.

Our goal is to keep you out of jail and at home with your family where you belong. Regardless of the seriousness of the crime you have been accused of, we can help. Don’t wait! Call us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (504) 302-2462.

“Play your cards well, call Gaynell!”

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published May 1, 2018.

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

By |2018-08-02T03:47:13+00:00May 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – LOUISIANA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS