Lafayette Marshal Brian Pope booked, released after felony indictment (copy)

Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope

LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope has been called to court on March 27 to explain why he has yet to begin the 173 hours of community service he received for failing to comply with public records laws.

Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Jules Edwards ordered Pope to perform the community service last year after finding him in contempt of court for failing to turn over public records sought by The Independent, a local media organization.

The judge, in addition to sentencing the marshal to seven days house arrest, directed him to log 173 hours speaking on the subject of complying with the state's public records laws and the consequences of not doing so.

The judge also required Pope to get court approval for his proposed speaking program and his target audience.

According to an order signed by Edwards this week, Pope has not submitted his proposed speaking program nearly a year after the contempt order.

Edwards order calls for the marshal to appear before him on March 27 to show "why he should not be held in contempt of court and sanctions levied against" for not complying with the earlier order.

Pope's attorney, Joy Rabalais, said that under her understanding of the original order, the marshal still has until the end of his nearly five-year period of unsupervised probation to comply with the community service requirement.

The judge's order set no timeline for compliance.

Rabalais said Pope plans to submit a proposed speaking program and information on his intended target audience before the March 27 hearing.

While the fallout from the public records litigation filed against Pope by the Independent continues, the marshal faces more troubles in a related criminal case.

A state grand jury indicted him last year on charges of perjury for allegedly lying under oath when he was questioned during the public records litigation.  He was also charged with malfeasance for alleged misuse of public resources for political purposes.

In one instance, Pope called a news conference at the marshal's office last year to accuse Sheriff Mark Garber, then a candidate, of encouraging illegal immigration into Louisiana.

Garber, an attorney, had at one time served Spanish-speaking clients in workers compensation cases.

Pope had framed the news conference as a call for a tougher stance on illegal immigration, but emails that surfaced during The Independent's public records case show that Pope worked with Leger, Garber's opponent, to plan the event.

A pretrial hearing is set for Thursday in the criminal case.

Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, @rbb100.​