In filing a complaint against State Police, the form has language that essentially turns it into an affidavit. So if Internal Affairs determines your statements are false, they can file charges against you. It seems we should be able to complain about a law officer without formally alleging criminal activity. That’s for IAD to decide if the complaint is valid.

The form includes this statement: "I fully understand that any false statement I make to the State Police Internal Affairs investigators or designee, in regard to this complaint may be a violation of LRS 14:133.5, Filing a False Complaint Against a Law Enforcement Officer. The crime of filing a false complaint against a law enforcement officer is punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment in the Parish jail for up to six (6) months or both."

So, we asked Marjorie R. Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, to weigh in. 

"I agree that this seems overly restrictive. It’s reasonable to require a certification that the information is true, but there must be a distinction between a complaint that turns out to be unfounded and one that was knowingly false. The burden is always on the prosecution to prove the allegations, including falsity, but the statement would be better if it addressed intentionally wrongful statements as opposed to those that turn out, after investigation, to be wrong."

Esman also notes there's a requirement that the statement be notarized, which she says "is an unnecessary obstacle that makes filing complaints more difficult and expensive. Notarization in that context serves no useful purpose."

Proof of insurance?

Is it illegal for a used/wholesale auto dealer to sell a vehicle and allow purchaser to drive off without proving insurance coverage?

The Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission tells us this is not illegal. 

However, the consumers will have to show proof of insurance to the Office of Motor Vehicles when they go to register the vehicle.

Send your questions to Ask The Advocate, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.