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Prevo v. State

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

March 4, 2015

MEIKO PREVO, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS DIVISION OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, WEBSTER PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, MINDEN PROBATION AND PAROLE, Defendants-Appellees

Page 17

Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Webster, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 71,755. Honorable John M. Robinson, Judge.

[49,650 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] WASHINGTON & WELLS, By: Alex J. Washington, Jr., Counsel for Appellant.

JAMES D. CALDWELL, Attorney General; HARVETTA S. COLVIN, Assistant Attorney General, Counsel for Appellee, State of Louisiana Dept. of Public Safety & Corrections.

COOK, YANCEY, KING & GALLOWAY, By: James R. Sterritt, Gregg A. Wilkes, Counsel for Appellee, Webster Parish Sheriff's Office.

Before BROWN, CARAWAY, MOORE, LOLLEY, and GARRETT, JJ. CARAWAY, J., concurs in part and dissents in part with written reasons. GARRETT, J., concurs in part and dissents in part with written reasons.

OPINION

Page 18

[49,650 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE.

Plaintiff, Meiko Prevo, brought suit against defendants, State of Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Division of Probation and Parole, Webster Parish Sheriff's Office, and Minden Probation and Parole, claiming that she was coerced to register as a sex offender. After a hearing on defendants' peremptory exceptions of prescription, the trial court dismissed plaintiff's suit. Plaintiff now appeals. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm as to the Sheriff's Office, but reverse as to the State of Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Division of Probation and Parole.

Facts and Procedural Background

Plaintiff, Meiko Prevo, was arrested in April 2000 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for

Page 19

the offense of crime against nature, a violation of La. R.S. 14:89. On August 31, 2000, plaintiff pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief and was sentenced to 90 days, suspended, and placed on probation for a period of one year. She successfully completed her one-year probation. At no time was she required to register as a sex offender.

In 2008, seven years after the completion of her probation on the 2000 misdemeanor charge, plaintiff was arrested for distribution of cocaine. On September 8, 2008, following a guilty plea to the charge, plaintiff was sentenced to five years probation.[1] After being placed on probation for [49,650 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] distribution of cocaine, plaintiff reported to probation officer David Phillips. Officer Phillips instructed plaintiff that she must register as a sex offender because her criminal history showed a disposition for a crime against nature in 2000 and had " SEX OFFENDER" stamped across the top of the document. Officer Phillips told plaintiff that if she failed to register as a sex offender she was going to jail. Plaintiff objected to being classified as a sex offender and even had her attorney from her 2000 arrest phone Officer Phillips to inform him that she had pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief. Officer Phillips was unmoved, and plaintiff registered with the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office the next day.

According to plaintiff's deposition testimony, on several occasions she implored Officer Phillips to look further into her matter, claiming each time that she was not a sex offender and, as such, should not have to be registered as one. Nothing came from these requests. In late May 2010, authorities tracked plaintiff down at her residence for her failure to re-register. In June 2010, to avoid jail, plaintiff again went to the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office and registered as a sex offender.

Thereafter, in September 2010, Officer Phillips was promoted to a supervisory position and Officer Mike Ware replaced him as plaintiff's probation officer. During plaintiff and Officer Ware's first meeting, plaintiff again stated that she had not been convicted for a crime against nature and that she was not a sex offender. Officer Ware immediately conducted an investigation into plaintiff's claim and obtained a fax from East Baton Rouge Parish that showed that she had pled guilty to the reduced misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief. On October 11, 2010, Officer [49,650 La.App. 2 Cir. 4] Ware informed ...


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