BRETT S. CASIMER
PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE 24TH JDC; PARISH OF JEFFERSON STATE OF LOUISIANA
APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 766-414, DIVISION
"P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, BRETT S. CASIMER In Proper Person
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, PAUL D. CONNICK, JR.,
DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE 24TH JDC; PARISH OF JEFFERSON STATE
OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux David B.
composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and
Hans J. Liljeberg
A. CHAISSON JUDGE.
case arising from a writ of mandamus filed pursuant to a
public records request under the Louisiana Public Records
Law, La. R.S. 44:01 et seq., Brett Casimer appeals a trial
court judgment denying the writ. For the following reasons,
we vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand to the
trial court for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 29, 2011, prior to the institution of the present
suit relating to a public records request, Mr. Casimer was
charged with aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. After
trial of the criminal matter, the jury returned verdicts of
forcible rape and second-degree kidnapping and the trial
court sentenced Mr. Casimer to 10 years
November 23, 2014, Mr. Casimer filed a public records request
with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office
requesting a copy of its file for his case. The DA's
office informed Mr. Casimer that his file contained 736
pages, 445 photographs, and 13 compact discs (CDs) and quoted
a total cost to duplicate the file. Mr. Casimer made payment
for the quoted cost, and the DA's office mailed a copy of
the record to him on or about May 29, 2015. In correspondence
a few months later, Mr. Casimer informed the DA's office
that he was unable to access certain portions of his file
because some of the CDs were incompatible with his computer;
in response, the DA's office informed Mr. Casimer that it
was unable to offer any assistance regarding the issue of
compatibility. In March 2016, Mr. Casimer informed the
DA's office that the duplicate file sent to him was
missing 78 documents, 84 photos, and one CD from the total he
was initially quoted and for which he had previously paid.
The DA's office responded by stating that everything that
was in its file of Mr. Casimer's criminal case had been
sent to him.
November 9, 2016, Mr. Casimer instituted the present suit by
filing a Petition for Supervisory Writ of Mandamus directed
to the DA's Office requesting that it provide him with a
copy of the missing CD (which he believed contained missing
photographs of the victim's clothing), copies of certain
CDs in a different file format, and any other evidence
collected but omitted from his file. No order was issued by
the trial court specifically in response to the Petition for
Supervisory Writ of Mandamus.
addition to the Petition for Supervisory Writ of Mandamus,
Mr. Casimer also filed, on the same date, a Motion to Compel,
which prayed that the trial court order the DA's Office
to provide him with the complete file for his case without
delay. In response to the Motion to Compel, on December 12,
2016, the trial court issued an order instructing the
DA's Office to provide Mr. Casimer with a copy of his
entire file within 30 days or face contempt sanctions.
January 18, 2017, the DA's Office filed a written
response to the Motion to Compel in which it stated that it
believed all materials in its possession responsive to the
public records request had been provided to Mr. Casimer and
that it had previously provided him with hard copies of the
materials contained on the CDs as specified by him. The
DA's Office further indicated that upon request and
receipt of additional copying costs, it would make his file
available to his representative for inspection and copying.
February 22, 2017, believing the DA's office continued to
withhold evidence relating to the victim's clothing, Mr.
Casimer filed an Amended and Supplemental Supervisory Writ of
Mandamus, directed to both the DA's Office and the
Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court, in which he requested full
documentation relating to the victim's clothing as well
as a contradictory hearing and in camera inspection
pursuant to La. R.S. 44:35. In response to the amended writ,
the trial court issued an order instructing the DA's
Office to provide Mr. Casimer with "[a]ll Photographs
and test results of Ms. Wilson's clothing," and
setting a contradictory hearing for the Clerk of Court to
appear to show cause why it should not produce certain
records requested by Mr. Casimer.
contradictory hearing on the amended writ was held on May 1,
2017, at which time the Clerk of Court indicated that it was
not in possession of any evidence regarding the victim's
clothing. The DA's office indicated that from a review of
the case file, it did not appear that any of the victim's
clothing was taken into evidence by anybody, and specifically
stated that it was not in possession of any evidence
regarding the victim's clothing. The DA's Office also
represented to the trial court that it believed it had turned
over the entire contents of Mr. Casimer's file to him.
The court granted Mr. Casimer an opportunity to examine ...