ABBEVILLE — The Vermilion Parish Police Jury followed the recommendation of attorney Paul Moresi on Monday and agreed to pay the cities of Abbeville and Kaplan about $20,000 for the cost of housing juvenile prisoners.
The action was taken as the parish appeals a ruling by the 15th Judicial District Court that said it had to pay the fees on a permanent basis. The court covers Vermilion, Acadia and Lafayette parishes.
Moresi said the ruling came down after the Police Jury contested paying the juvenile incarceration fees because it felt the cities were responsible for youths ordered to jail by city judges.
The jury agreed to pay the fees after the two cities agreed to reimburse the parish if they lost an appeal in Louisiana’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal based in Lake Charles.
The appellate court covers Vermilion, Lafayette, Acadia, Evangeline, St. Landry, Iberia, St. Martin, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula, Natchitoches, Sabine, Vernon, Concordia, Grant, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle and Rapides parishes.
“It is prudent that the parish pay the bill in the meantime for the system to continue to operate,” Moresi said. “But we still feel it is unfair to have to pay juvenile detention fees in cases where city judges ordered the detention of juveniles.”
In other business Monday, the jury acknowledged juror Ron Darby for being named president of the state Police Jury Association Black Caucus on Friday during a special reception in his honor.
Jury President Wayne Touchet said he and Darby came on the jury together and worked closely on many parish projects, but this achievement was very special.
“Ron has gone to all the meetings and been very active for many years,” he said. “We are all very proud of Ron, and this is not only an honor for him but the entire parish.”
Darby said he was extremely honored to have many parish dignitaries and jury officials at his reception, but he also said he was looking forward to having a positive impact not only on Vermilion but the entire state.
“The black caucus is organized through the police jury association with black elected officials from across the state,” he said. “In many cases, the areas we represent are infested with poverty and crime, and we all strive to find resolutions to legislate to build better communities for everyone.”