Can a DA drop a charge?

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The decision by the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office to drop the charge against Cleco CEO Darren Olagues has raised many questions from our viewers, many of whom wondered about the legality of the move.

Photo courtesy: Cleco

We set out to get some answers, heading right to Assistant District Attorney, Numa Metoyer, who was handling the case to clear things up.

"It was absolutely handled like any other case the DA's office would handle," said Metoyer.

Metoyer is standing by the way the DA's office handled the decision to drop the charge.

"We did feel we were fair in this case because he wasn't treated any different by the DA's office," explained Metoyer.

However, that decision has caused a lot of confusion among the public who thought that the DA's office had a duty to continue to prosecute.
According to Representative Helena Moreno, D-District 93, of New Orleans, who has been essential in creating the state's current domestic violence laws, it's essentially a case by case basis.

She uses the recent case against Senator Troy Brown as an example. Brown was charged with battery last year. His victim requested the case be dropped, but the DA's office moved forward.

"It's up to the DA to move forward with prosecution,” said Rep. Moreno. “Victims are often scared to move forward with charges and are forced by their abuser to not pursue charges, but at the end of the day it's up to the DA."

So what about here at home?

Metoyer explained to us that many aspects were taken into account.

"He was cleared by a mental health professional,” explained Metoyer. “He was also cleared by an anger councilor."

As Metoyer told us it was all in how the victim requested the charged to be dropped.

"She had contact with the office more than once,” said Metoyer. “And every time, for example one phone call to me, she had independent counsel who was advising her every step of the way."

He stressed that Olagues's status in the community didn't play a factor in the DA's Office.

"I will tell you this, there were far more cases in the DA's Office that were dropped with domestic violence perpetrators where those perpetrators did not have money," said Metoyer.

Metoyer believes they have made the right decision.

"We did feel confident in the fact that the victim had the resources available to maintain her safety," said Metoyer.

If you are ever in a situation where you feel you need assistance because of domestic violence you are encouraged by the family justice center to call the Faith House at (318)-448-0884, or their 24-hour crisis line (888)-411-1333.



 
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