A Baton Rouge man recently arrested and accused of threatening two local judges while on probation for making threats against one of them will remain in custody until a July probation revocation hearing, a judge decided Thursday.
Michael James Baxter, 27, pleaded guilty last year to a felony count of public intimidation and retaliation stemming from social media threats he made against East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court Judge Adam Haney, who had terminated Baxter's parental rights in May 2016. Baxter’s child was put up for adoption.
State District Judge Lou Daniel put Baxter on supervised probation for three years in September and ordered him to have no contact with Haney.
Baxter, however, was arrested again last week and booked on counts of public intimidation and retaliation, and violation of a protective order. His bail was set at $500,000 by 19th Judicial District Court Commissioner Nicole Robinson.
Daniel on Thursday placed a probation hold on Baxter, meaning he will remain behind bars until a probation revocation hearing is held July 2.
Baxter's attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, said her client is accused of threatening both Haney and 19th Judicial District Judge Beau Higginbotham via social media in January. Higginbotham had set Baxter's bail after his 2017 arrest.
An East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office affidavit of probable cause issued March 1 says on Jan. 3 Baxter posted on his Instagram page that he would "shoot that judge in his face for every family torn apart …"
The affidavit says a 19th Judicial District judge had contacted the Sheriff's Office and complained about "ongoing threats of harm" by Baxter. That judge, the affidavit states, had contacted the Sheriff's Office on previous occasions concerning threats made by Baxter.
On those previous times, Baxter was accused of threatening Haney in an October 2016 letter and on Facebook in January 2017. He was charged with two counts of public intimidation and retaliation, and pleaded guilty to the count involving the Facebook post. The other count was dismissed.
The Facebook post stated, “If you want me to be quiet you have one choice, Kill me. I don’t give a f*** about your position or the 'power' you have. I will not kill you but I will say this, you better hope our paths never cross again because I will beat the s*** out of you for destroying my family without any probable cause. It would be meaningless to kill you. I wouldn’t cause your family the same pain you caused by taking a loved one away.”
The March 1 Sheriff’s Office affidavit alleges Baxter acted in “willful disobedience” of the protective order that Daniel issued against Baxter in September. The order is in effect until Sept. 21, 2020, the affidavit says.