Brian Pope

Suspended Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope is led to jail in handcuffs and shackles after being resentenced Thursday in Lafayette.

Suspended Lafayette City Marshal was escorted in handcuffs and leg chains from the parish courthouse to the parish jail Thursday afternoon after a judge resentenced him on a 2018 conviction for three felony counts of malfeasance in office.

Unresolved is whether Pope has to spend a year in the parish jail or if he'll receive credit for a year served on home incarceration.

Pope's sentence also includes 240 hours of community service, $1,500 in fines, court costs, $11,700 in restitution and three years of supervised probation.

Pope's attorney Brett Grayson, while waiting for Pope's release from jail late Thursday afternoon, told The Acadiana Advocate he "tended to think" Pope will have to spend time in jail based on actions of deputies with the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

The state supreme court recently refused to hear Pope's case. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, however, vacated the sentence Judge David Smith previously imposed on Pope, calling on Smith to clarify the sentence.

On Thursday, Smith resentenced Pope to three years in jail on each of the three felony convictions, suspending all but one year on each count and allowing the time to be served concurrently, boiling Pope's sentence down to a single year in the parish jail.

In court Thursday, Grayson supplied a document from the Sheriff's Office supposedly showing Pope served time on home incarceration, but it is unclear whether those conditions meet the sentencing obligations imposed by Smith. 

Assistant District Attorney Alan Haney argued that Pope was out on bond while appealing his conviction. A condition of the bond, set by Smith, he said, was use of GPS monitoring and a curfew, not home incarceration. That wasn't part of his sentence, Haney said. He added that the document from the jail indicates Pope entered the jail June 28 and left an hour later under a Louisiana Home Detention program. 

Grayson said the Sheriff's Office has programs such as home detention for first-time non-violent offenders.

Smith deferred to Sheriff Mark Garber, who administers the home incarceration program, to determine whether Pope had met the requirements.

If not, Smith said, he will delay execution of the sentence until Nov. 4 so Pope can get his affairs in order before reporting to parish jail for up to a year.

Shortly after Pope was escorted to jail for booking, Grayson said the Sheriff's Office refused to release Pope per Smith's orders. Grayson returned to the courthouse where he said Smith signed a document and faxed it to the jail instructing deputies to release Pope.

Grayson said it did not appear the Sheriff's Office would allow the home incarceration to serve as Pope's one year sentence, but he had not received any official opinion Thursday afternoon.

Pope was suspended without pay in October 2018 upon his conviction. Assistant District Attorney Daniel "Danny" Landry said after Thursday's hearing that the matter of Pope's position as city marshal remains unresolved. Pope can voluntarily resign, he said. If he doesn't do so in about a week, Landry said the district attorney's office will file a motion to remove him from office.

"His felony conviction is final," Landry said. "He is not eligible to serve."

A jury found Pope guilty in October 2018 on four felony counts stemming in part from a videotaped deposition in which Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin grilled Pope as part of a lawsuit filed over his refusal to hand over public records to The Independent newspaper.

Three of the convictions were for malfeasance involving the use of public funds to pay attorneys for personal and prohibited reasons, such as trying to get the divorce file of a candidate for sheriff unsealed, and one for perjury during the deposition.

Smith in June 2019 dismissed the perjury conviction, but let stand the three malfeasance convictions. He sentenced Pope to a year in the Lafayette Parish jail for each of the three counts, suspending all but one year. He also sentenced Pope to 240 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $11,700 in restitution.

Pope was suspended without pay in October 2018 when he was convicted and while his appeals were pending.

The state supreme court last week refused to hear his case after an appeals court upheld the October 2018 conviction.

Pope still faces 19 felony charges of malfeasance in office. Seventeen of them are for accepting about $85,000 in fines and court fees in 2018 to supplement his salary despite a Louisiana Attorney General's Office opinion advising the money should be deposited into the marshal's office account. Two others are related to reimbursements in 2018 for travel on official business which he deposited in his personal account instead of in the City Marshal's Office account.

Pope gets probation for third time on 2016 contempt of court conviction


Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.