Lafayette District Attorney Terminates Fast Tracking Of DUI Cases.
A troubled DUI program at the Lafayette District Attorney's office has been shut down. "Immediate 894" allowed some offenders to expedite the clearing of their records. Judges in Lafayette have reportedly objected to continuing the program. A federal bribery investigation has resulted in the indictment of four employees at the D.A.'s office.
The program is at the center of a pay-for-privilege scandal. A former assistant district attorney and two former secretaries in the district attorney's office were involved. District Attorney Mike Harson told a Lafayette newspaper the "immediate 894" procedures have been discontinued.
"We no longer do them but only because the judges have discontinued their involvement,"
- Mike Harson, Lafayette District Attorney
Some misdemeanor offenders were able to have their offenses cleared from their record after completing community service, substance abuse, and/ or probation. Article 894 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure allows a person facing misdemeanor charges to plead guilty with the provision that the conviction will be set aside if specified conditions are met.
The FBI investigation in the bribery case is ongoing. District Attorney Harson is reportedly not a target of the investigation. Assistant DA Greg Williams and longtime secretary Barna Haynes have pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges. Williams' secretary, Denease Curry, and Elaine Crump, who was employed by a local nonprofit, have pleaded guilty to having knowledge of the crime and failing to report it.