Monday, March 29, 2010

Day One of Trial in Tensas Parish

Today in St. Joseph, Louisiana, the trial of Waterproof mayor Bobby Higginbotham began. As we reported last week, Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones and District Attorney James Paxton have accused Higginbotham of various charges of corruption. Bobby Higginbotham and his supporters, including Police Chief Miles Jenkins and school board member Annie Watson, say that Paxton and Jones are attempting to carry out a coup against Black political leadership in the parish.

Mayor Higginbotham, who is not a lawyer, represented himself at the trial today. Displaying confident knowledge of the law and an array of legal precedents and statistics to back him up, the mayor brought motions to have DA James Paxton removed from the case for conflict of interest, as well as for change of venue and for a continuance. The presiding judge ruled against Higginbotham on all counts, and jury selection began.

A six person jury was selected, with five white members and one Black member. According to the 2000 Census, the parish is 55% African American.

Several supporters of Higginbotham came to the courtroom to observe the trial, including Chief Jenkins, Ms. Watson, and Concordia Parish NAACP President Justin Conner.

13 comments:

frog said...

word on the street is that the jury is composed of 5 whites and 1 black.

Dawn said...

Hello Frog, A jury consists of more than six people. Word.

Dawn said...

Actually Frog let me amend my previous comment. It could be a "bob tail" jury.Which would consist of six members. This should not be an issue about race. I am a card carrying NAACP member. I am also "white". I also wrote an extensive paper on the history of Tensas Parish. I lived in the Parish for fifteen years. I was a resident when he was running for sheriff against Ricky Jones. Most of the African American community of Newellton and St. Joseph did NOT support him. If you would like some names of some African Americans that did not support him, please feel free to comment back. I will provide these names, and you can contact them. One of whom is a Police Juror.

Kindest regards,
Dawn M. Kelly

Chery said...

If there are any true staments made by you I would have to say 2. You may be white and an NAACP card holder. What you failed to say is that you have done nothing to eradicate racisim in Tensas Parish; the jury pool is not representative of the population in the parish; all of the Blacks are employed by whites; the puplic school system is 100% Black because the whites refuse to intergrate; Blacks were not allowed to vote in the parish prior to 1964; the DA should be recused becaue of a conflict of interest; the judge should be recused for the same reason; if it looks like a shame, smells like a sham, opreates like a sham, then it is a shame. And shame on you for pretending that you are something you are not. You are a pon in this whole setup, and you are too stupid to realize just how transparent you are.

Go on to your tea party. The idiots are awaiting your arrival. Oh, I'm sorry, you just left the tea pary and are running late for the republicans to throw you a bone. Your cover is blown. Blacks are not as gullable as you think. But you are a fraud, because you know of no other way to survive.

I feel sorry for you for now. But at the time of judgment day, you might find comfort in being with the rest of the haters burning in hell.

The Justice We Need said...

Indictment against Waterproof Mayor Bobby Higginbotham
posted Friday, February 13th, 2009 @ 11:40 am
STATE OF LOUISIANA
SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT
PARISH OF TENSAS
THE GRAND JURORS of the State of Louisiana, good and lawful men of the Parish of Tensas duly empaneled, sworn and charged to enquire for the body of said Parish, acting in the name and by the authority of the State of Louisiana, on their oath do present:
THAT BOBBY D. HIGGINBOTHAM
late of the Parish aforesaid, in the Sixth Judicial District of the State, in the Parish, District and State aforesaid,
COUNT ONE;
did commit Malfeasance in Office by violating R. S. 42:1112, by purchasing goods and services and instructing Town of Waterproof employees to purchase goods and services from a business or entity in which he/and or immediate family members has a personal substantial economic interest, in the approximate amount of $56,582.57, all in violation of R.S. 14:134.
COUNT TWO:
did commit Malfeasance in Office by intentionally and without authorization using Town of Waterproof funds for personal travel unrelated to Waterproof town business purposes to such cities as Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chicago, Illinois, San Francisco, California, in the approximate amount of $3,280.96 all in violation of R.S. 14:134.
COUNT THREE;
did commit Felony Theft by taking and/or using approximately $3,280.96 from the Town of Waterproof for personal travel by fraudulent means, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FOUR:
did commit Malfeasance in Office by intentionally using Town of Waterproof funds for personal travel unrelated to Waterproof town business purposes during the month of February, 2008 by obtaining money for advance travel expenses, all in violation of R.S. 14:134.
COUNT FIVE
In October, 2007, did commit Malfeasance in Office by intentionally and improperly converting and depositing $32,027.00 from Meter Deposit Fund belonging to the citizens of Waterproof and used for unauthorized purposes, all in violation of R.S. 14:134.

Finding: A True Bill on all counts
James Paxton
District Attorney
Sixth Judicial District of Louisiana

The Justice We Need said...

COUNT TWENTY-SEVEN:
In September 2007, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT TWENTY-EIGHT;
In October 2007, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT TWENTY-NINE:
In November 2007, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation ofR.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY:
In December 2007, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-ONE:
In January 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-TWO:
In February 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-THREE;
In March 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-FOUR:
In April 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.

contrary to the form of the Statue of the State of Louisiana in such case made and provided, in contempt of the authority of the State of Louisiana, and against the peace and dignity of the same.
Finding: A True Bill on all counts
James Paxton
District Attorney
Sixth Judicial District of Louisiana

The Justice We Need said...

COUNT THIRTY-FIVE:
In May 2008. did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-SIX;
hi June 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-SEVEN:
In July 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-EIGHT:
In August 2008, did commit Felony Theft by (lie lak ing of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, ati in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT THIRTY-NINE:
In September 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FORTY;
In October 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FORTY-ONE:
In November 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FORTY.TWO:
In December 2008, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FORTY-THREE:
In January 2009, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in the total amount of $2,000.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
COUNT FORTY-FOUR:
In February 2009, did commit Felony Theft by the taking of extra compensation by fraudulently increasing his salary, in (he total amount of $500.00, without Waterproof Town Alderman approval, all in violation of R.S. 14:67.
contrary to the form of the Statue of the State of Louisiana in such case made and provided, in contempt of the authority of the State of Louisiana, and against the peace and dignity of the same.
Counts One through Forty-Four
Finding: A True Bill on all counts
James Paxton
District Attorney
Sixth Judicial District of Louisiana

Chery said...

The Justice We Need is just as foolish as Dawn. The Mayor went to court on Monday, and there are only three counts for which he is being charged. Why did they drop 41 counts? Because they were bogus. The three remaing counts fall in the same category, bogus. Get a life people. Why are you so threatened by the mayor. Is it because he is African American, articulate, well educated, an entreprenuer? Yes, I think that sums it up for all. I understand your frustration. However, just let it go. The Mayor broke no laws. It's time to move on. You know what the real deal is and everyone else knows it too. Don't let hatred destroy your peace. Be productive and love thy neighbor.

The Justice We Need said...

Sorry Chery!? Do you have any idea, how a 'movement' is orchestrated out of an incident. At some point, in the public domain; documentation must be asserted & inserted. What we need is a concerted effort and no backing down. Post a link for the public, of the 41 charges dropped. Certain Black Liberation Organizations require facts. Systemic injustice must be assaulted succinctly. Passion is fine. But, the LASC,the LLBC, the La. AG, the La. GOP nor any of there perfunctory subordinate groups, give a care about nothing but pressure. http://www.usccr.gov/correspd/01-26-10_Louisiana.pdf - You should check this out. This is the state of Louisiana Jurisrudence. The sheriff actually migrated to Tensas,from an adjacent parish. That parish is under investigation for "hate crimes" of old. In that parish a celebration of sorts will be held honoring a black business-man-"a monkey show" is part of the celebration, an article in the Natchez Democrat says the monkey's regularly appear at Angola. Get it, blacks-&-monkeys-&-prisons. http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/news/2010/mar/31/state-honor-ferridays-haney/ - A good ole'democrat state legislator sponsored the bill in the Legislature.

WE JUST GOT ANOTHER AGENDA, THAT'S ALL!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Flaherty in this and other reports does an excellent job of channelling Harper Lee, but as a native of Waterproof I can tell you that he is seeing what he wants to see, not what is there.

I wasn't present at the trial, so the jury is in a much better position to determine the truth or falsity of the charges, but Mr. Higginbotham has been problematic from the time he returned to Tensas. He started a gas station and began feuding with his competitor (also a former mayor of Waterproof), building on his competitor's property. When he lost a lawsuit against his competitor, he (as Mayor) sponsored city ordinances to prevent farming on his competitor's land that lay within the city limits. (His competitor was the owner of the lionshare of farmland lying within the city limits, so this ordinance appears to have bee targeted against him.) His compeitor acquiesced, and instead began growing trees on that land. Higginbotham, angered that his competitor was getting any use of the land, demanded that the seedlings be mowed down, and when he was refused, entered the land to do so himself, whereupon he was arrested for trespassing. (The "false arrest" of which he complained.)
Higginbotham may or may not be guilty- I haven't seen the evidence presented at trial. But his is hardly a victim of a racist conspiracy. He has abused his power, mistreated his neighbors, and wasted the money of the town of Waterproof. (At one point he attempted to hire a "town attorney" for $200,000/year, he purchased a stable of police transport totaling at least 4 cars and two motorcycles for a department with two police officers.) Within a week of being elected mayor he had driven away the two original officers and replaced them. As the previous mayor was also black, he can hardly argue he was clearing out officers from a previous racist administration. During his term, city services, particularly water, have deteriorated t othe point where many residents go to neighbors on the parish water system to bring home jugs of drinking water.
Higginbotham has been a disaster for the town of Waterproof. While it is a poor town with its best days behind it, and no one is likely to turn it into a growing efficient city, Higginbotham has been a net loss for my hometown, even if he didn't actually steal from it.

-Jefferson

Anonymous said...

All I'm saying is I'm black and Bobby knows he is guilty as sin.we are do quick to bring race in this but the truth is the truth he's a crook

Dawn said...

Hello Cheryl,

Wow, I should have followed up on this a lot sooner. I am and always will be a registered democrat. If you knew me then you would know how many times I have stuck my head out in Tensas when I lived there. I live in South Louisiana now.However I still have close ties to my community in St. Joseph, Waterproof, and Newellton. Does the Parish have a negative past (Note the word past) History? Yes it does. As do many other areas of our Country. To allege that our DA is crooked is bordering on criminal. If you have proof of something of that sort then you need to report him to proper channels.But of course you do not. You made this an issue about race, which it is not. Higginbothem if white would have been prosecuted. Our DA is an honorable man, whom follows the letter of the law. As for our Judge, he has never in his years on the bench been overturned on appeals for any thing out of line.He to is one of the most honorable men I have ever known. In reference to Sheriff Jones. You are most definitely not from Tensas are you? If you were then you would recall that he won his election overwhelmingly with almost full support of the African American population. He was chief of police for many years in our town and always had and has been fair. Do you know who is right under him at the Sheriff's office? Probably not. Maybe you should look up Tensas Parish Sheriff's office. Also while you are at it look up Tensas Parish police jury, whom the mayors are of all three towns of Tensas, and a chart of the demographics of the Parish.The problem I see is that people like you want to keep moving backwards into the past, instead of moving forward into the future. Many races were persecuted in this Country, none as badly as the African Americans, but there was still an attitude against many that were not direct descendants of the "Mayflower". One problem in this state is a lack of education. tell me Cheryl did you ever bother to take a Louisiana history course? A college level class? I do not think you have or you would know the history a little better, and would not be so quick to make comments that are incorrect. Please do yourself a favor, take the class. You will be amazed at how some "White" people actually risked their lives, and families to fight for equality. finally, The jury is randomly picked, and both sides had an opportunity to throw out jurors they felt or deemed not fit. You never did ask whom my friends were up there? Were you afraid of my answer? Call Rod Webb. He is a very dear friend of mine, and funny thing is he is NOT a member of the NAACP. Call Alex "Cooper" Williams ask him about Dawn and the incident in Waterproof many years ago. I am concerned that your name is not Cheryl, and you are one that was rumored to be involved with the fiasco of Waterproof? I never have trusted a person that will not sign there full name to there comments. Please note my full name is there for any to see. I have nothing to hide. Do you? Before you pretend to know the law, look it up, or ask a reputable Attorney. Do you not wonder why the National branch of the NAACP was not present for his trial? Only a local branch was involved and involved against the advice of senior members of the NAACP. This happened not long after the incident of Jena. If there would have been any merit to Higginbothem's Racism charge do you not thing that in light of the national media attention that Jena brought our state that the media and National branches of NAACP would have been present? THINK!! I also understand Higginbothem was found Guilty. I guarantee his case will NOT be overturned by the court of appeals. He is guilty as charged. And most of the Parish is very happy that he has been prosecuted.

With kindest regards, I remain,
Dawn Williams Kelly

Anonymous said...

Dawn, what you write sounds good but lacks introspect. You are too close to see what is wrong in your "neck" of the woods. Looking in the mirror can be painful and we tend to see the reflection we want to see.

You speak of the dirty "past" and have deluded yourself to believe that the present is somehow different. What is different? Blacks are the majority but still the minority on juries in all elected offices. You think that is by accident? You all should have Black Judges, DAs, Sheriffs, Cops, etc. Blacks are still relatively poor while whites who remain in the area thrive. The "sheriff", who boasts a GED education (aka high school dropout, a quitter, a failure!), makes a salary of $250,000 in a parish where the average household income is $10,000. What's wrong with that picture?

As far as Blacks voting for white officials, "Slave" revolts were always thwarted by "good slaves" who drank the koolaide and loved their "master". Get my drift? Ever heard of crabs in a barrel? Look it up!

So my dear, the whole delta is a travesty. There is no justice for Blacks and likely poor whites either. Much to the chagrin of you, the DA, the crooked "judge" and many others I am sure, Bobby Higginbotham has the means, the tenacity and the mind to challenge the orchestrated and sadly, accepted, corruption of politics and the legal system in the Delta.

For the record, an upstanding DA with a solid case and who is not on a witch hunt, does not allege 43bogus charges, only later to reduce them by 95%. He presents a strong case from start to finish. As for your "good and honest judge", I use the title loosely, he is blemish to the legal system, he has been recused from the trial for official misconduct. Guess you have not heard that he took jury instruction to whole new level when he "instructed" the jury to find Mayor Higginbotham guilty. You are so connected, surely you have heard about that???

How is it that a mand can honorably serve his country without incident and return to be Chief of Police in the Delta and all of a sudden become a reckless criminal with no regard for the law? Don't you find that just a little strange? In all other parts of the country we celebrate our veterans. In the Delta, if they are Black and dare to be bold, you all desecrate them. Yeah things have changed alright. Puts me in the mind of vets returning from earlier wars to being treated like lepers in their own country. The past you say? OK...

As I said there is no justice in the Delta for Blacks. You all have your own way of doing things and will crucify anyone who dares to awaken the massess, upset the apple cart, challenge your legacy and your standing. You love Black folks as long as they stay in their place, follow behind and allow you to prosper.

You all are happy as long as Black folks forget the past and white folks continue benefitting from the past. PLEASE stay in the Delta! The rest of world is at least one century ahead.

Good For Bobby for trying to make a difference. Tensas Parish is a travesty!!!