Debate over Rapides DA's forgiveness program argued before Third Circuit

(Source: KALB)

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - A legal battle between the Rapides Parish Police Jury and the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office centered around a forgiveness program within the DA's office headed before the Third Circuit Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Back in May, the 9th Judicial District Court declared that the DA's office had the authority to assess fees charged to people participating in the pretrial intervention program. That program diverts money that is supposed to go to the criminal court fund directly to the DA's office.

But, the police jury appealed. They wanted the Third Circuit to review the decision from the lower court. The arguments were heard on Thursday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as part of a program offered by the Third Circuit for students to see how the court works.

You'll remember that over the summer the police jury voted to slash the DA's office budget by $700,000. A decision will be rendered in the coming weeks. We're told though by members of the police jury there on Thursday that the judges urged the issue to be solved through mediation.