WAFB featured a story about “video surveillance that shows a south Louisiana police chief punching a man outside of a bar, then throwing a woman to the ground” - and then trying to cover it up. The Law Office of William Most is seeking accountability on behalf of the victims of this police violence.
“At least hundreds— and probably thousands—of Louisiana citizens have been held past their release date in recent years,” Most said.
Read the full expose about Louisiana’s pattern of holding people past their release date, and about the work the Law Office of William Most is doing to stop it:
Attorney William Most was quoted in today's Times-Picayune: "Mr. Grant is fighting to hold the Sheriff and the DOC accountable for imprisoning hundreds or thousands of people past the end of their court-ordered sentences. Judge Brown's decision ensures that Mr. Grant will have his day in court."
Background: On June 27, 2016, while trying to obtain a driver’s license Rodney Grant was arrested in Orleans Parish on a expired, fifteen-year-old charge. Three days later, he plead guilty. Judge Buras sentenced him to a one year sentence, with credit for time served for the seven years he had spent in prison for a different issue. Because his one year sentence was immediately complete, he should have walked free.
But Mr. Grant was not released. The Orleans Sheriff has a policy of holding inmates indefinitely until they receive word from the DOC - even when they know someone should be free. The Sheriff knew Rodney Grant should be free because he received an email from his lawyer that Mr. Grant "really shouldn’t have to actually serve any time once DOC processes it.”
The Sheriff held Mr. Grant until July 12, 2016, when he handed him over to the DOC. Once the DOC took custody of him, they should have immediately released Mr. Grant. Instead, they sent him to a private prison in Tallulah, Louisiana.
When Judge Buras found out that Mr. Grant had not been released, she took action. On July 15, 2016, she called Sheriff Gusman and the private prison warden to ask why Mr. Grant had not been released. On July 18, 2016, she entirely vacated Mr. Grant's sentence. On July 25, 2016, Judge Buras called and emailed the DOC again.
But it wasn't until July 27, 2016, that the DOC finally released Mr. Grant and gave him a bus ticket back to New Orleans. All in all, Mr. Grant had been overdetained by 27 days.
The law is clear: the Fifth Circuit has held that "There is a Clearly Established Right to Timely Release from Prison." And courts have consistently held that once a prisoner's sentence is complete, he or she must be released within a reasonable time that cannot exceed two days.
The DOC and the Orleans Parish Sheriff, however, consistently hold people past their prison sentence. The problem is so bad that Attorney General Landry wrote in an op-ed that there “is a layer of incompetence so deep that the Corrections Department doesn’t know where a prisoner is on any given day of the week or when he should actually be released from prison.”
Accordingly, Mr. Grant filed a lawsuit against the Orleans Sheriff and members of the Department of Corrections. On August 15, 2018, Judge Brown denied defendants' requests to dismiss the case. The case will proceed against both the Sheriff and the DOC.
As described in the New York Times, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney has refused to bring charges against all of the Law Office of William Most's clients: two journalists and thirteen peaceful protesters wrongfully arrested during the July 2016 Alton Sterling protests.
Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/07/13/us/ap-us-police-shooting-louisiana.html
The Law Office of William Most is proud to represent Juanita Fischer in her fight to hold Walmart accountable for pregnancy discrimination.
In August 2014, Juanita was hired to work in the deli department of a Lake Charles Walmart. She was a model employee: from August 2014 to August 2015, she was never disciplined for her job performance or attendance. Instead, she received positive reviews and a merit raise. Juanita loved her job.
A year after she was hired, Juanita learned she was pregnant. A few days after she told her managers, Juanita received her first-ever disciplinary action. She was reprimanded for failing to take out the trash, a mistake she and other employees had made in the past without discipline.
After experiencing pregnancy complications, she asked Walmart for accommodations – to be transferred from the deli to another department, or to not have to close the deli alone, or to merely have access to a stool for some tasks. Walmart denied every single request. When Juanita had to take time off for medical-related pregnancy reasons, Walmart punished her.
In January 2016, while closing the deli alone (a task she had specifically requested to be excused from) Juanita slipped and hit her pregnant stomach on the sink. She was in pain and terrified of a miscarriage, but finished her shift before going to the emergency room because she was afraid she would be fired for taking more time away from work.
Two days later – even though she hadn’t taken any shifts off – Walmart fired her. A week after Walmart fired her, they approved her request for family/medical leave. She went back to her manager, hoping this meant she could have her job back. Her manager told her to reapply “after you have your baby.”
Because of all this, Juanita has filed a lawsuit to hold Walmart accountable for violations of federal and state law. More detail can be found here.
The Law Office of William Most is very proud to have represented Officer Samantha Mincey. Her refusal to stay silent in the face of injustice took down a crooked police department in Louisiana: officer fired, assistant chief fired, and chief resigned.
Read more at: http://www.wafb.com/clip/14357437/the-investigators-forced-out
The Law Office of William Most was proud to work and march with the family of deceased veteran Preston Thornton. Read Ian Frisch's compelling story of his life and death here: https://www.playboy.com/read/a-veteran-in-crisis.
On February 21, 2018, William Most joined with the Law Office of Eric Alan Isaacson and fourteen historians from around the country and world to file an amicus brief in the Louisiana voting rights case Voice of the Ex-Offender v. State of Louisiana. The goal of the lawsuit is to restore the vote for more than 71,000 Louisiana citizens on probation and parole.
From the Louisiana Record:
"The Lafayette police actions are part of a larger pattern of Louisiana law enforcement violating citizens' First Amendment rights," Most said. "I'm glad that the ACLU held them accountable."
From the Advocate:
William Most, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Baton Rouge Metro Council case, emphasized in the lawsuit that Baton Rouge has a history of suppressing speech, particularly the voices of black citizens. The suit references a 1965 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was wrong for Baton Rouge police to arrest a peaceful protester standing on a sidewalk.
He added the Council already restricts citizens to three minutes of comments.
"What does it say about Scott Wilson if he can't bear to hear three minutes of talk he doesn't like?" Most asked.
Today, the Law Office of William Most, together with Magleby Cataxinos Greenwood, filed a lawsuit against the Mayor Pro Tem of Baton Rouge for violation of community leaders' First Amendment rights. Watch the story on WAFB:
On Veterans Day, 2017, William Most stood with the family and community of Preston Thornton, a U.S. Veteran shot and killed by law enforcement during a mental health crisis in Coushatta, Louisiana. Preston is gone, but not forgotten.
On September 2, 2015, shortly after death-row exoneree Glenn Ford's death, William Most, spoke with the Abolition Action Committee. The discussion was held in Washington, D.C. at the Committee's annual Starvin' for Justice Fast & Vigil to abolish the death penalty.