LOCAL

White Castle officials: Charges reinstated against former chief; Browns back in court

Michael Jacobs

The First Circuit Court of Appeal has ruled that District Judge William C. Dupont erred in dismissing criminal indictments against former White Castle Police Chief Clarence Rogers, charged 2007 with malfeasance in office and unauthorized use of a credit card.

Dupont ruled the district attorney's office had not brought Rogers to trial within the two-year window prescribed by state law. The appeal's court found that defense motions for continuances had slowed the process by two and a half months.

District Attorney Richard J. “Ricky” Ward Jr. told the POST/SOUTH Friday that a new trial date has not been set, but would be put on the docket as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown and Police Chief Mario Brown returned to U. S. District Court last week to enter a new set of “not guilty” pleas to amended federal indictments charging them with racketeering, public bribery and other offenses. Their trial has been set for December 6, but the court has not yet ruled on their motions for separate trials.

An Iberville Parish grand jury in June 2007 indicted Rogers, already out of office, on a count each of malfeasance in office and unauthorized use of a credit card.

The local grand jury investigated Rogers, Mayor Brown and other White Castle officials after a Louisiana Legislative Auditor's report cited instances in which they might have violated a constitutional provision against donating public property or money for private use. Two weeks after indicting Rogers, the grand jury cleared the other officials.

In June 2009, Dupont ruled Rogers had not been brought to trial within the two-year period set for non-capital cases.

The First Circuit found the time limitation for starting the trial was suspended on two separate occasions, in January and November 2008, after the local court granted the defendant's request for a continuances of the trial, causing a delay of two and half months.

Rogers originally was set for trial in February 2008, but asked for continuances until March and then May of that year. The district attorney's office then asked for a series continuances. The trial was rescheduled for July 7, 2009, but Dupont ruled the time limitation had expired.

The federal grand jury indicted brothers Maurice and Mario Brown in connection with an undercover FBI sting operation involving what has been called a conceptual product for cleaning residential garbage cans.

Maurice Brown filed to run for re-election this fall, but was thrown off the ballot for failure to pay a Louisiana Ethics Board fine.

Mario Brown won his bid for re-election in the October primary.  He defeated Clarence Rogers for the job in 2006.