Rapides DA ‘not aware of a conflict’ that would prevent prosecution of David Westmoreland case

All 9th Judicial District Court judges recused themselves from case last week
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 12:53 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell said his office intends to prosecute a fatal hit and run case in which a courthouse employee is charged.

Last week, all of the judges of the 9th Judicial District Court recused themselves from the case of David Westmoreland, a juvenile probation officer who worked for the court. The judges are asking for the Louisiana Supreme Court to appoint an ad-hoc judge.

Westmoreland was arrested by Alexandria Police on May 1 for first offense DWI, vehicular homicide, hit and run and limitations on passing bicycles for a traffic fatality in which Donnie Cayer was killed.

On Monday, Terrell said his office has prosecuted former law enforcement like Westmoreland in the past, and that fact alone does not lead to a recusal of his office.

“We prosecuted several State Troopers for criminal acts, I can think of three right off the top of my head since I’ve been here,” said Terrell. “Just the fact that we work with them as another agency does not require that we recuse on that. That does not present a conflict in and of itself. If there are other relationships, there might be a conflict. But, I’m not aware of one in the Westmoreland case.”

He also said he’s not aware of any conflicts that prevent them from prosecuting the case.

“I don’t have any connection,” said Terrell. “My appreciation, Mr. Westmoreland works for the juvenile probation, which is run by the judges. And, therefore as a juvenile probation officer he was a direct employee of the judges office. I’m not aware of a conflict that we would have in connection with that case.”

The case has not yet gone to a grand jury. Westmoreland is being represented by Mike Small.

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