Friday, March 03, 2006



By Brian Thevenot
Staff writer

On Thursday, a criminal court judge issued a second “capias” arrest warrant for (Criminal District Court Clerk) Butler, ordering sheriff’s deputies to actively seek out Butler and arrest her on charges of contempt of court. The court issued the second warrant to clarify the first, said Johnson, which the sheriff’s office had interpreted to have expired after a court hearing that Butler ditched that day.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Rene Lapeyrolerie said deputies began “actively seeking” Butler in response to the second order, but could not specify how many deputies the office deployed.

In the radio interview, Butler sounded defiant and unconcerned, at times giggling, as she told listeners of the fine work she is doing to prepare for the upcoming election, even while in exile. “As chief election officer of the parish, that has to be my number one priority.

I cannot pull off an April 22 election in jail,” Butler said in an unannounced call to a WWL radio Thursday morning. She said that her attorneys told her the court orders and arrest warrants are illegal, so she could legally ignore them.

“If the police came to your house, and said, ‘here’s the arrest warrant,’ and the arrest warrant wasn’t signed, or they didn’t have an arrest warrant, would you let them in your house anyway?” Bulter said. “It’s not legal ... their asking me to turn over my authority. You know, it’s crazy.”

Butler then impugned the motives of the judges, suggesting they aimed to undercut her chances for re-election.

“This is rather dubious. I’ve been in office for over two years ... and people have told me they’ve seen progress,” she said. “Then all of a sudden, right before election time, there’s all kinds of issues.”

The spontaneous radio call left Criminal Court Chief Judge Calvin Johnson dumbfounded. In brief comments outside his temporary office in the federal court building downtown, Johnson shook his head as he contemplated the latest turns in the bizarre drama.

“She’s managed to irritate the judges of the criminal court even more, if that’s conceivable,” he said.

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