Vernon Parish District Attorney Wins Third Circuit Appellate Court Case

Vernon Parish District Attorney, Terry Lambright, announced that the Third Circuit Court of Appeal issued a ruling August 30 in “State of Louisiana in the Interest of J.D.” (a juvenile).

The original case was heard by Judge Elvin C. Fontenot, Jr. in Leesville City Court.   A plea was agreed to by the defendant’s legal counsel and the father of the accused.  The juvenile was ordered into secure custody of the State of Louisiana, Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), until his 20th birthday for simple burglary, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile, possession of controlled dangerous substances and theft of a firearm.

OJJ refused to place the juvenile in secure custody and instead placed him in a non-secured home.  The Vernon Parish District Attorney filed a motion for a hearing to hold OJJ in contempt of court.  OJJ twice refused to place the juvenile in a secure facility.  The juvenile left the non-secure home and committed new crimes in the Leesville area.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal ruled late last month that a juvenile court has the authority to determine what kind of custody the juvenile should be in, citing precedent in three other cases.

Vernon Parish District Attorney, Terry Lambright, said that he was pleased with the outcome and cited that this has been a recurring issue with OJJ.

Lambright also announced that a Vernon Parish Grand Jury returned an indictment on Thomas A. McCartney of Leesville for First Degree Rape.  McCartney was arrested by the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office in February and has remained in jail since that time.

In compliance with Louisiana law, this matter was presented to a grand jury seeking an indictment due to the potential exposure of life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Lambright announced that his office will move to the next phase of prosecution, which is to arraign the suspect and ask the Court to set a trial date.