James Gill: Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere should have just accepted the ticket after caught urinating on Causeway _lowres

Donald Villere

Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere will not be prosecuted for a Jan. 7 incident in which a Lake Pontchartrain Causeway police officer gave him a ticket after Villere stopped to relieve himself on the bridge.

The reason: Public urination is not a crime in unincorporated St. Tammany Parish, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Warren Montgomery said.

Villere was cited after the vehicle in which he was riding pulled into the northernmost crossover on the 24-mile-long bridge, and Villere urinated in view of the officer. Villere was returning from the south shore after attending a private event, he said.

During the stop, which happened about 8:45 p.m., Villere asked the police officer for “a little help being (that) he was running for re-election,” according to the police report.

After the officer issued the ticket anyway, Villere twice called Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou, once just after the stop occurred and a second time the next morning, Dufrechou said.

Villere has said his urgent need to relieve himself resulted from a medical condition. The police report does not say whether he told the officer about that condition.

Montgomery decided not to prosecute the case after researching the law, said his spokeswoman, Lisa Page. Villere was cited for violating the state’s obscenity statute, Page said, but the District Attorney’s Office determined his actions did not constitute a violation of that law. Meanwhile, there is no prohibition on public urination in unincorporated St. Tammany Parish, she said.

“As I understand it, there’s no law to give me a ticket in the first place,” Villere said. “I’m just really grateful that somebody decided to check out the law.”

On Feb. 23, the day after he made the decision not to prosecute, Montgomery sent a letter to Parish Council Chairman Marty Dean asking the council to consider an ordinance that would make urinating in public a misdemeanor. The proposal also would ban defecating in public, which apparently also is not illegal under parish law.

Montgomery urged adoption of the ordinance “at the council’s earliest convenience.”

Villere has been embroiled in an intense re-election battle with challenger Rick Danielson. The election is Saturday.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.