Prosecutors have dismissed the charges against a prominent Crowley attorney and his wife stemming from an altercation with Crowley police last May, an altercation that is also the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Brad Burget, the district attorney in the Seventh Judicial District, filed the dismissal of prosecution paperwork with the Acadia Parish Clerk of Court’s Office on Monday. Burget was not immediately available Tuesday for comment.
The dismissal was first reported by the Acadian Advocate.
Clay Lejeune had been charged by a grand jury with three counts of public intimidation and two counts of resisting an officer with force or violence. His wife Mitzi Lejeune, who is also an attorney, had been charged with one count of public intimidation.
Barry Sallinger, defense attorney for Clay and Mitzi Lejeune, said his clients are very happy that prosecutors dropped the charges and called the dismissal long overdue.
“It’s obvious that District Attorney Burget believed no crime had been committed when he looked at all the evidence,” Sallinger said.
Less than a week after the indictments, Clay and Mitzi Lejeune filed a federal lawsuit against the Crowley Police Department, the officers involved in his arrest and the city of Crowley for civil rights violations and unlawful arrests.
They contend the officers kicked their door of the hinges without announcing that they were police officers on May 25, 2014, the lawsuit claims. When Clay Lejeune demanded the officers leave, they told him to place his hands behind his back before tackling him to the ground, the lawsuit states. Clay Lejeune was then hit with a stun gun more than three times, including once in the genitals, in front of his wife and children.
Crowley police claim Lejeune attacked them when they went to his house following an anonymous tip from someone who claimed they heard a woman screaming inside the home.
A federal court judge had issued a stay on the civil case until the criminal case against the Lejeunes was finished.
Sallinger said he has asked both State Police and the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the actions of the Crowley Police Department in this incident and as a whole, but never heard a response from either agency. So now, he said they are working a file to send to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking them to investigate the actions of the Crowley Police department in this incident and as a whole.
The Acadia Parish District Attorney’s Office recused itself from the case and asked the Attorney General’s Office to handle the case several months ago. Then on April 20, the AG’s Office asked the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office to take the case, citing the potential that attorneys with the Attorney General could be called as witnesses in the criminal or civil case because Lejeune’s defense team cited AG’s opinions in criminal motions.
The Seventh Judicial District encompasses Concordia and Catahoula parishes.