Kemp's Crossing

Kansas City Southern Railway crossing

After all the trials and tribulations, the tears and fears, the beatings and the kicking down of “slave” cabin doors.  The Hard Times, that seem to not want to “come again no more”

After the Trial. What trial.  The trial of black folk when they killed Martin Luther King.  The trial of black folk, when the gov’t paid assassins to do the dastardly deed in the Audubon Ballroom.  All those other trials, Medgar Evers killed dead in his driveway.   James Meredith and Fannie Lou Hamer.  All those trials, trials of lynchings, and being called nigger and coon, and jungle bunny and porch monkeys; Trials on Trial, persecuted, wrongly prosecuted.  When the Investigating FBI agent is a crook, caught in the act and they still prosecuting the black folk, with a sitting black US Attorney General.

The Post-trial conviction of black man. This is after the trial and now the conviction, the sentence is harassment on the national and international stage.  B a r a c k    H u s s e i n  O b a m a!!  But let’s getback to Louisiana!!

FBI agent found guilty of fraud

  • Advocate staff writer
  • Published: Jan 18, 2011 – UPDATED: 8:38 a.m.

An FBI agent who was an undercover investigator in a major corruption case in the Baton Rouge area has been found guilty of 15 counts of wire fraud and three counts of bankruptcy fraud, a Baton Rouge attorney said Tuesday.

Nashville-based FBI Special Agent Darin Lee McAllister, 44, faces a total of 315 years in prison and $6.5 million in fines, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Attorney S. John McLindon said McAllister is listed as the lead undercover agent in “Operation Blighted Officials,” a corruption investigation that led to the indictments of former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown, his brother, White Castle Police Chief Mario Brown, St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace, Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis and New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson.

McAllister was convicted of devising a wire fraud scheme to defraud SunTrust Mortgage Co., Inc. in connection with the purchase of rental properties totaling $1.25 million in May and July 2006, according to the news release. McAllister also devised a scheme to defraud the SunTrust Bank in connection with a $100,000 line of credit and making three false statements in connection with his subsequent bankruptcy petition in July 2009, according to the release.

McLindon represents Mario Brown.

Sentencing for McAllister is set for March 4.

U.S. Attorney Donald Cazayoux, Jr. said Tuesday morning he does not anticipate calling McAllister as witness in the trial and that McAllister was not a big part of the case.

The Brown brothers go to trial Feb 22, McLindon said.

McLindon said he has known for more than a month about McAllister but was prevented from talking about it with anybody — witnesses or the media — because U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson issued a protective order in the Brown case preventing the revelation of the information.

That order or seal was lifted by Jackson Friday, McLindon said.

“It’s been very frustrating. I couldn’t even talk to witnesses about this,” McLindon said.

Bruce Craft, the attorney representing Maurice Brown, said the new information weakens the government’s case against the Browns.

“You have a crooked cop in charge of the investigation and that significantly impacts the government’s case against Mayor Brown,” Craft said Tuesday morning.

McLindon said it’s “disturbing” that McAllister was under federal investigation by the FBI in Tennessee at the same time he was an active participant in the “Operation Blighted Officials” sting in Baton Rouge.

“I don’t know what was going on. Maybe the FBI in Tennessee didn’t tell the FBI in Baton Rouge about it,” McLindon said.

McLindon said it “bothers’ him that only two people approached the Browns in the sting operation and one was a convicted felon and the other was a private citizen paid by the FBI.

Maurice Brown, 45, is alleged to have accepted $10,000 in cash and gifts from undercover FBI agents masquerading as corrupt businessmen promoting a conceptual garbage-can cleaning service.

Mario Brown, 40, is alleged to have accepted $500 in cash, as well as other gifts, in return for using law enforcement computers for the benefit of the purported businessmen and writing a letter advocating lenient treatment for a purported drug offender.

McLindon said he is thinking about issuing a subpoena to put McAllister on the stand in the Browns’ trial.

Jones has undone himself

January 10, 2011

The long and colorful ride of former state Sen. Charles Jones soon may enter another chapter — the penalty phase.

Although the always impeccably dressed Jones soon will trade his designer suits for a prison jumpsuit, it won’t be without a continuing fight. Jones, convicted on one count of tax evasion and two counts of filing false tax returns, plans to appeal his 27-month sentence. Jones also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.

No one knew, until it came out in court, that Jones has had a long-term and very personal relationship with the Internal Revenue Service, in the form of a 15-year tax lien that garnished his wages as a state representative and senator. While his defense made it seem he had been doing his civic duty all that time, the reality is the government, even then, was forcing Jones to abide by law.

What’s disgraceful about that is that by Jones’ profession — an attorney — and in his roles as an elected official, Jones swore to uphold the law. Instead, he lied and stole by falsifying his tax returns and refusing to pay the taxes he owed until the government forced him to do so, all the while feathering his nest and the nests of his relatives and friends by directing state tax dollars to various non-profits they directed.

While it can be said that no one likes to pay taxes, the rest of us do — not only because it’s the law, but also because we know this is what we pay for the services we share in society.

We support the education of our children, public utilities, law enforcement, public health care for those less fortunate or of advanced age. Our tax dollars even support the legislative structure that paid Jones a salary, the same salary that was garnished because Jones refused to pay his taxes.

What’s doubly disgraceful is Jones has yet to admit he defrauded not just the government, but all of us.

“I am remorseful and repentant from my participation in this cause,” he told the court at his sentencing. “I truly regret that I have to stand here today. “» I tried to do the best that I could and never took a vacation. Maybe I tried to do too much for too many people. I was just being human, and I made business errors and mistakes.”

What Jones truly regretted, we’re sure, is that his license to practice law, temporarily suspended pending the outcome of this case, will be revoked by the Louisiana Supreme Court for his conviction on these serious charges. He will have to spend time in jail and then find a means to repay the penalty that was assessed.

As for the rest of us, we too are human and we make mistakes. But repeatedly failing to pay our taxes isn’t one of them.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of President and Publisher David B. Petty, Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, and community representatives Larry Foreman, Charles McDonald and Tom Morris.

$350,000 bond set for slaying suspect

  • Advocate staff writer
  • Published: Jul 16, 2008 – Page: 1B – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
State District Judge Richard Anderson on Tuesday tripled the bond originally set for the state representative’s son accused of killing a church musician earlier this year near Goodwood Boulevard.Anderson set a bond of $350,000 for James G. Barrow Jr., son of state Rep. Regina A. Barrow, during a bond hearing requested three weeks ago by James Barrow Jr.’s attorneys.One of those attorneys, Aidan Reynolds, said after Tuesday’s hearing that he is going to ask the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to review the bond.

“The bond we ended up with today is clearly excessive,” he said, adding that his client waited three weeks for the bond to be set, “which is a clear violation of law.”

Barrow, 21, and Michael Smith Jr., 20, are accused of fatally shooting Brent Cole, a 39-year-old DeQuincy man who traveled weekly to Baton Rouge to play bass guitar at First Pentecostal Church.

Police have said the March 15 shooting might have been the result of road rage.

After surrendering to authorities on June 19, James Barrow Jr. and Smith were booked into Parish Prison on one count each of principal to second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.

Smith, 2882 Saratoga Drive, was released from custody July 7 on a $250,000 bond, court records show.

Barrow, 6512 Vineyard Drive, was initially released from prison on a $100,000 bond set by state District Judge Janice Clark, who primarily hears a civil docket. Five days later, Clark revoked Barrow’s bond and sent him back to jail after he failed a drug test.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Barrow’s parents testified that they would ensure their son’s appearance in court if he were to be released on bond.

“I will bring him myself,” Regina Barrow said. “We have a very close-knit family and we believe in doing what’s right.”

Barrow’s father, James G. Barrow Sr., answered “no” to questions Reynolds asked about whether James G. Barrow Jr. had a passport or had ever traveled outside the U.S.

“I have no reason to believe he would not appear in court,” James Barrow Sr. said.

Regina and James Barrow Sr. about their son’s previous arrests and whether they imposed any restrictions on him after those incidents.

Before James Barrow Jr.’s most-recent arrest, he was due in court July 23 on a felony charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, court records show.

He also was arrested last year for allegedly beating a man with a baseball bat, pointing a gun at the man and telling him to get in the trunk of a car, court records show. Smith was arrested in the same incident; however, the case never went to court.

Regina Barrow said that after the arrests, she and her husband gave their son a curfew of midnight and were always in touch with him, making sure they knew where he was and what he was doing.

“We had him on close reins,” she said.

Barbera also asked whether the Barrows had any weapons at their Vineyard Drive home and about a green ammunition pouch containing 36 live rifle rounds police found there while investigating Cole’s death.

James Barrow Sr. said he keeps a handgun locked in a safe at his home, but does not know “how the pouch of rifle rounds got inside the house.”

Barbera argued that James Barrow Jr. should not be entitled to a bond because of the nature of the crime he is accused of committing and his criminal background.

If a bond is set, she said, it should be set at $500,000.

Reynolds said his client is innocent until proven guilty and there is no evidence showing he is a threat to the public or that he is a flight risk.

Therefore, Reynolds said, a bond set at $200,000 bond with certain conditions, such as house arrest and random drug tests, is adequate.

Anderson responded by setting Barrow’s bond at $350,000. If released, the judge said, Barrow should be placed on house arrest, submit to random drug tests and have no contact with Smith or the victim’s family.

As of late Tuesday, Barrow had not been released from custody and was being held at West Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Regina and James Barrow Sr. declined comment Tuesday after the hearing.

Cole’s wife, Karen Cole, attended the hearing but also declined comment.

Dan Davis, pastor of First Pentecostal Church in Baton Rouge, said he was reassured by how the hearing was handled and is encouraged that the case “will be handled ethically and properly.”

Barrow’s defense asks court for new bond in murder case

  • Advocate staff writer
  • Published: Jun 26, 2008 – Page: 1B – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
Defense attorneys filed a motion Wednesday in Baton Rouge state court to set a bond for James G. Barrow, who was recently accused of killing a church musician.The request — filed in state District Judge Richard Anderson’s court — came a day after a different state district judge revoked the bond she set Friday for Barrow, son of state Rep. Regina A. Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, sending him back to jail.State District Judge Janice Clark, who primarily handles a civil docket, revoked the $100,000 personal surety bond because Barrow failed a drug test, the judge said during a Tuesday hearing on whether the bond should be modified.

The results of the drug test represented Barrow’s “failure or inability to adhere to the order of the court, parental authority and the public at large,” Clark said during the hearing.

John M. Delgado and Aidan C. Reynolds say in the motion they filed Wednesday that Barrow has a “constitutionally protected right to have a reasonable bond set, which would ensure his appearance at trial.”

In addition, the attorneys say in the motion that Barrow “is not a flight risk, has strong family ties to the community and is not a danger to any person.”

Barrow, 21, 6512 Vineyard Drive, and another man, Michael Smith Jr., 20, 2882 Saratoga Drive, are accused in the March 20 killing of Brent Cole.

Cole, 39, of DeQuincy, was shot while driving along Goodwood and Independence boulevards, police have said.

Barrow and Smith both were booked into Parish Prison on one count each of principal to second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon. Smith’s bond was set at $250,000.

Barrow and Smith surrendered to authorities on June 19 after police traced calls made to and from a cell phone found at the crime scene to Smith, arrest warrants say.

Smith’s attorney, Tony Lawrence, filed a motion for a bond reduction hearing Tuesday in Anderson’s court.

Anderson, who primarily handles a criminal docket, is the judge who will likely preside over the case because he was on duty when the crime occurred.

Lawrence says in his motion that Smith too is not a flight risk, has family ties to the community and is not a danger to the public.

Lawrence also says in the motion, “no physical evidence supports the state’s theory that the defendant killed the victim.”

Lawmaker’s son arrested again

  • Advocate staff writer
  • Published: Jan 18, 2011 – Page: 1B

A Baton Rouge lawmaker’s son and another man implicated in the 2008 fatal shooting of a church musician were arrested Sunday for allegedly robbing a man at gunpoint on Nicholson Avenue near West Grant Street, authorities said.

James G. Barrow Jr., 23, and Michael Smith Jr., 22, were riding in a sport utility vehicle just before 5:30 p.m. when they saw a 31-year-old man carrying a backpack, said Trooper Russell Graham, a spokesman for Louisiana State Police Troop A.

Barrow, son of state Rep. Regina A. Barrow, is accused of jumping out of the car, indicating he had a weapon and demanding the man’s backpack, Graham said.

The victim gave the backpack to Barrow and Smith and they fled, Graham said.

The victim flagged down a nearby trooper who saw the vehicle stop and drive off, Graham said.

The trooper pulled the vehicle over and apprehended Smith, Graham said.

Barrow ran into a nearby ditch, Graham said.

The trooper, with the help of Baton Rouge police, caught Barrow after a short chase and took him into custody, Graham said.

Investigators did not find a gun on Barrow or anywhere near the scene, Graham said.

Barrow, 6512 Vineyard Drive, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of armed robbery and resisting an officer.

Smith, 2882 Saratoga Drive, was booked on one count each of armed robbery and simple criminal damage to property.

Neither man had posted bail as of late Monday. Barrow’s bail was set at $25,500. Smith’s bail was set at $27,000.

At the time of his arrest Sunday, Barrow was serving a three-year probation sentence issued Aug. 1, 2009, in an unrelated burglary conviction.

He also was facing a possible murder count.

Both Barrow and Smith surrendered to authorities more than two years ago, on June 19, 2008, and were booked on one count each of principal to second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon in the death of Brad Cole, 39, of DeQuincy.

Cole, who commuted to Baton Rouge weekly to play bass guitar at First Pentecostal Church, was shot and killed near Goodwood Boulevard on March 15, 2008.

Investigators have said the shooting could have been the result of road rage.

A grand jury heard the case against Smith in April 2009, but took no action, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said, adding the case is still open.

The case against Barrow also is still open, but has not gone before a grand jury, Moore said.

“It’s unfortunate this occurred,” Moore said, referring to the recent arrests of Barrow and Smith.

“Obviously, we will look at everything again before we make a decision as to whether we present evidence to a grand jury.”