LA Supreme Court denies writ application from Rapides DA over funding issue

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Louisiana's Supreme Court has denied a writ application filed by the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office tied to a lengthy battle between the DA and the police jury over the DA's forgiveness program called pretrial intervention (PTI).

(Source: KALB)

That program allows the DA's office to offer forgiveness to those facing charges in exchange for programming requirements and fees that go directly to the DA's office, circumventing the criminal court fund. The criminal court fund helps pay for programs around the parish.

Earlier this year, the police jury voted to slash the DA's budget by $700,000 because the parish was facing a deficit in its general fund that the parish claimed was tied to that program.

The DA's office pushed for a civil mandamus, which is an order from the court to require the police jury to reasonably fund the DA's budget. But, an ad hoc judge in Rapides Parish said that wasn't the proper legal vehicle for the matter.

So, the DA's office wanted to get another opinion, trying to take it all the way up to the state Supreme Court. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the DA's application.

Justice Scott J. Crichton wrote this response, "I agree with the decision to deny this application. I write separately to point out that the District Attorney is free to request from the trial court expedited consideration of this important public matter in order to resolve the issues presented."

News Channel 5 reached out to Martha Crenshaw, the attorney from Gold Firm representing the DA's office, on the matter. She told us that she is meeting with the DA's office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the next steps and will get back with us about what they plan to do.

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