Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope spent Monday morning detained in the Lafayette Parish jail.
The booking allowed Pope, convicted of contempt of court in a public records lawsuit, to post a $500 bond that suspends his seven-day house arrest sentence while he requests an appellate court review of the conviction.
“In order to be able to post the bond, as per the sheriff, he had to be booked,” said Kevin Stockstill, Pope’s attorney.
State law allows post-sentence bond if the maximum sentence is five years or less, unless the judge suspects the defendant poses a danger to the community or is a flight risk.
Stockstill said he’s filing an application to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal within the coming weeks to review Pope’s conviction.
“The real issue is overturning this conviction we believe was made in error,” Stockstill said.
Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Jules Edwards on March 24 sentenced Pope to 30 days in jail, with all but seven days suspended and the option to serve the sentence on house arrest. He also sentenced Pope to teach 173 hours of public records courses.
The judge found Pope failed to comply with a court order to produce certain emails sought by The Independent in an Oct. 8 records request.
The Lafayette news organization sought emails to and from Pope’s official account that show he colluded with Scott Police Chief Chad Leger’s unsuccessful campaign for sheriff in planning an Oct. 7 news conference that attacked Leger’s opponent, Sheriff-elect Mark Garber.
Pope evaded the request by claiming an investigative exemption and, later, by claiming no responsive emails existed.
The marshal’s court-ordered, Dec. 17 response to the request produced 588 pages of emails but excluded dozens he deleted from his email account that showed Leger’s campaign manager authored the statement Pope gave during the news conference and other statements made in relation to it.
Those emails were uncovered through The Independent’s parallel request to Lafayette Consolidated Government, which stores all emails sent to and from all government email accounts, regardless of whether they’ve been deleted.
Pope’s more than $100,000 owed in attorneys fees, court costs and penalties for withholding the records is also on hold while he appeals Edwards’ Jan. 4 ruling that his court-ordered response to the request was “woefully inadequate.”
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.