The Business & Technology Network
Helping Business Interpret and Use Technology

Critic-Raiding Sheriff Settles With Bloggers Who Sued Him Over His Unconstitutional Actions

Tags: google rights
DATE POSTED:September 13, 2017

Now that Terre Bonne Parish sheriff Jerry Larpenter has had his immunity stripped by a federal court, it appears he's ready to pay up to keep the damages from mounting. Sheriff Larpenter abused a terrible law -- Louisiana's still-on-the-books-for-some-reason criminal defamation law -- to harass a critic of his. On the way to getting slapped by the court, Larpenter went judge-shopping (bringing his warrant to an off-duty judge) for someone willing to sign his unconstitutional warrant -- a judge who later found the warrant with his signature on it to be perfectly legal.

The state court of appeals shot down Larpenter's warrant. The inevitable civil suit that followed found Larpenter being de-immunized in successive decisions, leaving him to actually bear some responsibility for his act of censorship.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports Larpenter is now making nice with Jennifer and Wayne Anderson, the couple targeted by the sheriff for their criticism. The Andersons had their home raided by Larpenter's deputies, who seized every electronic device they could find, including the Andersons' childrens' laptop.

Larpenter has reached a settlement in the civil suit filed against him by Jennifer and Wayne Anderson, whose home was raided by Larpenter's deputies in 2016 after Jennifer blogged critically about the sheriff.

"I think the sheriff's finally learned that he can't bully people and violate people's constitutional rights," Wayne, a Houma police officer, told local station WWLTV. "In our case, he stepped on the wrong people's constitutional rights because we knew our rights. Hopefully, he thinks twice the next time he gets his feelings hurt."

If Larpenter is going to think twice, it will be because a federal court -- in no uncertain terms -- told him he travelled far outside Constitutional confines and the boundaries of his job to harass a critic. The decision opened with this memorable line:

Some qualified immunity cases are hard. This case is not one of them.

It went on from there to explain there was no legal precedent that offered cover for his actions, pointing out no reasonable law enforcement officer could possibly believe abusing a statute already found unconstitutional could possibly be Constitutional.

The Andersons have already received $50,000 from Terre Bonne Parish for its participation in this debacle. The amount of Larpenter's settlement is still undisclosed.

Despite all of this, there's been no action taken by Terre Bonne Parish to punish Sheriff Larpenter for his actions. This will hopefully be corrected. $50,000 has already been transferred from the parish to the Andersons for his 1st and 4th Amendment violations, and it's unclear who will actually be paying for the most recent settlement. Someone who thinks they can use the powers granted to them by constituents to engage in foolhardy witch hunts against critics can't be trusted to impartially handle the job of law and order.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story
Tags: google rights