from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Richland, Louisiana Trial Court No. 42, 928-B Honorable James
M. Stephens, Judge
FREDDIE R. LEWIS Pro Se.
WEEKS & MATTHEWS, APLC By: L. Frederick Schroeder II
Ronald S. Bryant Counsel for Appellees, Warden Cupp,
Assistant Warden Scott, Billy White and Anne Jones.
WILLIAMS, LOLLEY and GARRETT, JJ.
plaintiff, Freddie Ray Lewis, appeals from a trial court
judgment granting an exception of prescription and dismissing
his claims against the defendants, Richland Parish, the
Richland Parish Detention Center ("RPDC"), and
various officials and law enforcement officers associated
with the RPDC. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial
filed the present lawsuit basically claiming his
incarceration was illegal and seeking damages. The
circumstances leading to his arrest, conviction, and
incarceration began in 2005. On four occasions between
October 1, 2005, and November 18, 2005, Lewis sold crack
cocaine to an undercover agent with the Bossier City Police
Department. On January 12, 2006, Lewis was charged by bill of
information with four counts of distribution of cocaine. He
was tried by a jury and convicted, as charged, on all counts.
On November 27, 2007, the trial court sentenced Lewis to
serve 20 years at hard labor on all four counts, to be served
concurrently, with two years to be served without benefit of
parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. On appeal, this
court affirmed his convictions and sentences in State v.
Lewis, 43, 769 (La.App. 2d Cir. 12/10/08), 1 So.3d 665,
writs denied, 2009-1027 (La. 1/29/10), 25 So.3d 827,
and 2009-1223 (La. 1/29/10), 25 So.3d 832.
his convictions and sentences, Lewis was transferred from the
Bossier Parish Maximum Security facility to the RPDC and then
to a facility in Vernon Parish. On June 26, 2012, Lewis,
proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the present
action entitled "'Pro Se' Civil Action Lawsuit,
" asking for "punitive, compensatory, and
nominal" damages arising from a criminal conspiracy to
commit "aggravated kidnapping at gunpoint" and
"false imprisonment at gunpoint." Lewis claimed
that, because he was charged by bill of information and not a
grand jury indictment, his convictions and sentences were
illegal. He contended he was never properly admitted to the
custody of the Department of Corrections ("DOC"),
and his transfer to the various facilities was illegal. He
claimed a criminal conspiracy between officials in Bossier,
Richland and Vernon Parishes to move him between various
detention facilities without legal authority. As defendants,
Lewis named Richland Parish, the Richland Parish
Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Charles M. McDonald, the
Richland Parish Detention Center, Warden Major Stokes,
Assistant Warden Lt. Scott, and the RPDC administrative
staff. He alleged the dates he was in Richland Parish were
from January 15, 2008, to April 27, 2008. Claiming damages in
the amount of $5-15 million, he tendered a settlement offer
of $7.5 million.
also made the following statement in his petition:
The pro se plaintiff/Litigant, Freddie R. Lewis, 395306,
avers that the "Illegality of Custody" by Richland
Parish, et al; has been fully litigated in the Nineteenth
Judicial District Court, which verified that the pro se
plaintiff/Litigant, was not "Admitted" to the
Louisiana State Department of Public Safety and Corrections,
after Sentencing November 27, 2007 [Louisiana State Law
Annotated Revised Statue (sic) 15:566(C)] and all subsequent
custody and Transport/Transfer of said custody, thereafter
patently false. On September 30, 2011, Lewis filed a petition
requesting a writ of habeas corpus in the Nineteenth Judicial
District Court, against the DOC and others, raising the same
arguments made in the present suit. He claimed he was never
delivered into DOC custody because the department never got
the proper commitment papers required by La.C.Cr.P. art. 892.
He argued the deficiency was that he was charged by bill of
information and not by grand jury indictment. Lewis claimed
there was no legal authority for his custody and that his
master records with the DOC had been falsified.
commissioner with the district court filed a written report
recommending that the request be dismissed as lacking merit.
The report noted that any failure of the sheriff's office
to provide proper documentation did not affect the validity
of Lewis's sentences to custody under La.C.Cr.P. art.
892(D), and that Lewis failed to establish falsification of
any records. The district court dismissed the request for
habeas relief with prejudice. Lewis appealed, and the first
circuit affirmed the district court judgment, noting that a
bill of information was sufficient to charge Lewis; a grand
jury indictment was not necessary. See Lewis v.
Secretary, La. State Dep't of Pub. Safety &
Corr., 2012-1890 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/7/13), 2013 WL
2488464, writ denied, 2013-2350 (La. 5/14/14), 139
2012, the defendants in the present case filed an answer
asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Among these was
that the action was time-barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. Almost four years later, in January 2016, the
defendants filed an exception of prescription. They
maintained that Lewis's complaints sounded in tort. They
argued that, at most, Lewis had two years from the date he
was last ...