Former U.S. Attorney Donald W. Washington has been appointed to serve as temporary Lafayette city marshal while the permanent, elected marshal serves a 30-day jail sentence for contempt of court. The temporary appointment from City Court comes as the marshal, Brian Pope, is requesting to serve the sentence through home confinement.
Judge Jules Edwards on Feb. 28 revoked Pope’s probation, which was contingent on his fulfilling a community service requirement. Edwards found that Pope hadn’t made a good-faith effort to do so, according to KATC. The contempt conviction stemmed from Pope’s defiance of Edwards’ orders to disclose emails The Independent sought via public records request.
Meanwhile, Pope is facing seven felony counts, including malfeasance and perjury, based on his conduct during the civil case over the emails, as well as the subject matter of the emails: his alleged dedication of public resources to help an ally in the 2015 Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s race.
The next hearing in the criminal case is scheduled March 26.
Pope’s attorneys filed a motion the day after his probation was revoked requesting he be allowed to serve at least a portion of the sentence from home. They cited “extensive security that will undoubtedly be necessary if Marshal Pope remains” in jail.
Edwards in 2016 suspended all but seven days of the 30-day jail sentence, and Pope served the unsuspended portion through home confinement. But Edwards’ Feb. 28 order seems to diminish any chance of leniency, since it explicitly states that Pope is not entitled to receive any credit for time served on house arrest.
"I think I have bent over backwards to help the marshal," Edwards told Pope in court last week, according to KATC.
City Court judges, meanwhile, announced on Monday that Washington, a Lafayette-based partner in the Jones Walker law firm will serve in Pope’s place “until such time as Marshal Pope is able to physically return to his duties,” according to a news release that does not mention Pope’s legal problems.
“The judges of the court have determined that Marshal Brian Pope is temporarily absent and that the continued operation of the Marshal’s office is necessary to the efficient operation of the court,” Presiding Judge Francie Bouillion is quoted as saying in the news release.
Washington served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana from 2001 to 2010.