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State, Butler v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 25, 2019

(STATE OF LOUISIANA) CHARLES TERRY BUTLER Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
RICKY JONES, SHERIFF Defendant-Appellee

          Appealed from the Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Tensas, Louisiana Trial Court No. 59, 880 Honorable John Durham Crigler, Judge.

          CHARLES TERRY BUTLER In Proper Person

          JAMES EDWARD PAXTON District Attorney Counsel for Appellee, Sheriff, Rickey A. Jones

          JAMES EDWARD PAXTON District Attorney By: Linda Lee Kincaid Watson Counsel for Appellee, State of Louisiana

          Before GARRETT, McCALLUM, and THOMPSON, JJ.

          McCALLUM, J.

         Before us is an appeal of the trial court's judgment denying a public records request and an accompanying request for mandamus. Charles Terry Butler asserts two errors for consideration: (1) the trial court erred in considering the filed responses by the district attorney's office and (2) the trial court erred in denying his mandamus request to order the sheriff to provide records requested by him.

         For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS

         On July 17, 1997, Charles Terry Butler ("Mr. Butler") was convicted for the second-degree murder of his father-in-law. This Court affirmed his conviction. Thereafter, Mr. Butler sought to file various post conviction relief claims. On August 25, 1998, prior to filing those claims, he instead filed a motion for production of public records with the Tensas Sheriff's Office and the Sixth Judicial District Attorney's Office.

         In his August 25, 1998, public records request, Mr. Butler sought the following records: all transcripts, all rulings, all responses by the State, all defense filings, all police reports, the crime scene report, any fingerprint testing and any accompanying results, the coroner's report, any polygraph results related to any witness related to the case, all test results and any accompanying reports, the grand jury records and the entire district attorney's file. On May 11, 1999, Mr. Butler filed the exact same request for public records. On July 26, 1999, the trial court ordered that the public records be sent to Mr. Butler following his payment of $250 for the copies. The appropriate offices, thereafter, sent Mr. Butler the records.

         Mr. Butler then filed his original and supplemental application for post conviction relief. On September 14, 2000, the trial court denied the application. On January 25, 2001, this Court denied writ. Finally, on November 13, 2001, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writ.

         On May 4, 2001, after we denied his request for review of the post conviction relief ruling, but before the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writ, Mr. Butler filed a new request for public records.[1] The sheriff's office replied to this request on May 15, 2001. Mr. Butler then filed another public records request on June 1, 2001. The sheriff's office again responded thereafter. Mr. Butler then filed for a mandamus, along with other motions, against the sheriff's office. On February 4, 2002, the trial court denied Mr. Butler's mandamus request. The record shows no appeal of that trial court ruling.

         Over sixteen years later, on February 16, 2018, Mr. Butler filed a new request for public records with the sheriff's office. In that request, the one now before us, he sought the initial police report and all other police reports. We reiterate that Mr. Butler had previously ...


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