Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
645, 873 Honorable Wilson Fields, Judge Presiding
N. Aguiluz Baton Rouge, LA Attorneys for Plaintiff
-Appellant, Michael Ledet
C. Bursavich Baton Rouge, LA Adrienne E. Aucoin Baton Rouge,
LA Attorney for Defendant -Appellee, State of Louisiana,
through the Department of Public Safety and Corrections,
Public Safety Services, Office of State Police
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTFIAM, JJ.
Ledet appeals his classification as a Tier II sex offender
based on his 2005 federal conviction and incarceration for
possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of
minors, in violation of 18 USCA 2252. The district court
upheld an administrative law judge's (ALJ) determination
that the State of Louisiana, through the Department of Public
Safety and Corrections, Public Services, Office of State
Police, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information
("the Bureau"), properly classified Mr. Ledet in
2014 pursuant to the most comparable state statute, La. R.S.
14:81.1, concerning possession of pornography involving
juveniles. Consequently, Mr. Ledet is currently required to
register in Louisiana as a sex offender for a period of 25
years from the date of his initial registration, as well as
perform in-person renewals every six months, all in
accordance with La. R.S. 15:540, et
March 23, 2005, Mr. Ledet was charged by a federal bill of
information with one count of possession of child
pornography. He pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced
on July 28, 2005, to serve two years in federal prison. Upon
his supervised release from prison, Mr. Ledet resided in
Mandeville, Louisiana. As a required condition of his
supervised release, Mr. Ledet initially registered as a sex
offender on June 12, 2007, with the Sheriffs Office for St.
Tammany Parish. He was informed at that time that he must
renew his registration annually for ten years from the date
of his initial registration. The Sheriffs Office forwarded
Mr. Ledet's registration to the Bureau. For the next
seven years, Mr. Ledet annually updated his registration as
August 7, 2014, the Bureau sent written notification to Mr.
Ledet that his period of registration and frequency of his
in-person periodic renewals had been reviewed and it was
determined, by comparing the elements of the most comparable
Louisiana statute (pornography involving juveniles) with the
criminal elements of the federal statute (sexual exploitation
of minors), that Mr. Ledet should be classified as a Tier II
offender. A Tier II classification involves offenses defined
in La. R.S. 15:541(25) as "Sexual offense[s] against a
victim who is a minor" and require a 25-year
registration period, as well as an in-person registration
renewal every six months from the date of the initial
registration. See La. R.S. 15:544 and La. R.S.
15:542.1.1(A)(2). Additionally, Mr. Ledet was informed of his
right to appeal the Tier II classification by submitting a
written request for an administrative hearing as provided in
the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act ("the
APA"), La. R.S. 49:950, et seq., within one
year from the date that the Bureau posted its determination
on the Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry ("the
Registry"). The Bureau's determination was posted on
the Registry on August 7, 2014.
a full year later, Mr. Ledet submitted a formal appeal of the
Bureau's Tier II determination and requested an
administrative hearing by letter dated August 4, 2015. On
October 14, 2015, a hearing was held on the merits of Mr.
Ledet's Tier II classification and, after argument,
witness testimony, admission of evidence, and the submission
of post-hearing briefs, a Decision and Order was rendered and
signed by an ALJ on December 3, 2015. In detailed written
reasons, the ALJ affirmed the Bureau's determination.
After the ALJ denied Mr. Ledet's request for
reconsideration, Mr. Ledet filed a petition for judicial
review of the ALJ's decision in the Nineteenth Judicial
District Court on February 11, 2016. The district court
reviewed the administrative record and the parties'
memoranda, as well as heard oral arguments on May 23, 2017.
On March 28, 2018, the district court signed an amended
judgment denying Mr. Ledet's petition and rendering
judgment in favor of the Bureau, thereby affirming the ALJ
decision and finding that the ALJ's decision was not
arbitrary and capricious. Mr. Ledet now appeals to this court
for review of the district court and the ALJ's
district court's judicial review of a final
administrative decision is governed by the APA and its
standard of review as set forth in La. R.S. 49:964(G):
The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the
case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify
the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been
prejudiced because the administrative ...