Update – September 23, 2014
The lawsuit against Caddo Parish District Attorney Charles Scott has been settled prior to trial to the tune of half a million dollars. Whistleblower and former DA investigator Don Ashley will receive $447,000 including attorney’s fees from his former boss even though Scott insists “we were ready for trial.”
Update – August 28, 2014
Former Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office investigator Don Ashley has continued to pursue a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, District Attorney Charles Scott, since he was fired following the events outlined in our original post below. The case is slated for trial on September 23, 2014.
Ashley’s lawsuit alleges that assistant district attorneys in Caddo Parish (including Lea Hall and Hugo Holland) engaged in “unorthodox” behavior that “went beyond what he believed to be the prosecutorial mission of the district attorney,” including “outfitting their vehicles with lights and sirens, making stops, and wearing SWAT-type clothing during work hours,” reports the Shreveport Times. You can read the allegations in the lawsuit here.
Original Post – November 12, 2012
Under the purview of Caddo Parish District Attorney Charles Scott, Assistant District Attorneys Hugo Holland and Lea Hall submitted a request to the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency (LFPAA) for eight automatic rifles in December, 2011. The LFPAA, which disseminates federal property to Louisiana entities, authorized the release of the weapons to the Caddo Parish District Attorneys Office because Holland and Hall said the office’s Special Investigation Unit needed the weapons to handle high profile drug cases alongside the Shreveport Police and Caddo Sheriff. When news of the weapons’ transfer reached Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, he issued a statement that he believed the transaction had occurred contrary to Louisiana law. Sheriff Prator rejected the claim that the DA’s office would need such weaponry.
The Caddo DA’s Office veteran investigator Don Ashley alerted Prator to the weapons’ transfer and was fired by District Attorney Scott soon afteward. He has since launched a wrongful termination suit, alleging that Scott fired him for blowing the whistle on Holland and Hall’s acquisition.
The Inspector General (IG) of Louisiana launched a private investigation into the matter, releasing a report in July. The report found that the request contained false information and that Holland and Hall had misrepresented the reasons why the eight automatic rifles were needed by the DA’s Office. Both the Shreveport Police and the Caddo Sheriff denied that district attorney personnel routinely participated in the operations described on the form.
Following the release of the IG’s report, the District Attorney asked Assistant District Attorney Holland and Assistant District Attorney Hall to resign. Though they no longer work for the Caddo DA’s Office, Holland and Hall continue to prosecute the Angola 5 cases, in which one defendant alleges Hugo Holland withheld exculpatory evidence at his trial. Read a blog post about the incident here.