For at least the last 10 years, the police jury paid a bill when a juvenile, arrested by either the Kaplan or Abbeville police, was sent to a juvenile detention center in St. Martin Parish or in Lafayette. The charge is $120 per day to hold the juvenile.
The police jury in the past would pay the bills, which has added up to thousands of dollars.
Roberta Boudreaux, who is the liaison for the police jury and the parish jail, questioned why the police jury is paying the juvenile bills. She worked in Iberia Parish doing the same job and the cities paid the juvenile bills and now the parish.
She brought it to the attention of the police jury, who filed suit against Kaplan and Abbeville. The police jury wanted its money back from Kaplan and Abbeville.
The police jury lost the first round of the suit but won the second round on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeals reversed the 15th Judicial District Court first ruling stating that Kaplan and Abbeville are not responsible for paying the bill for housing juveniles who were arrested by either the Abbeville Police or Kaplan Police. The lower court ruled that the Vermilion Parish Police Jury is responsible for the bills and should continue to pay the bills like it has for the last 10 years.
But the Court of Appeals said in its finds that the “cities have not introduced sufficient evidence to prove that a custom exists whereby the Vermilion Parish (Police Jury) is liable for the costs incurred for the pre-adjudicative detention of juveniles......therefore, the
cities have failed to show a legal basis for the police jury obligation to pay for the bills incurred......”
That is good news for the police jury and bad news for the cities of Kaplan and Abbeville. Right? Not exactly. It depends on which lawyer you talk with.
The conclusion given by the Court of Appeals states: “The judgement of the trial court is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings on the remaining issues.”
The confusion between the two lawyers, Paul Moresi III for the police jury and Ike Funderburk for the cities, is the Court of Appeals’ words: “the case is remanded for further proceedings on the remaining issues.”
Moresi said he interprets the words to mean the lower court is going to have to decide how much the police jury is owed by the cities for having paid the juvenile bill it should not have been paying in the first place.
Funderburk interprets the words to mean the lower court is going to have to hear the case all over again.
Moresi said Judge Kristian Dennis Earles is going to interpret the words, “The case is remanded for further proceedings on the remaining issues.”