POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A justice of the peace in Pointe Coupee Parish was ousted by the Supreme Court of Louisiana after failing to pay a penalty and address the legal matters that followed.
The state's highest court ruled Tuesday that Justice of the Peace Stacie P. Myers, for District 4 in the parish, be removed from her post.
Myers' removal, which was recommended by the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana, comes after she failed to pay a civil penalty which was ordered by the Supreme Court.
The $1,500 civil penalty was imposed on December 4, 2012 "for a willful and knowing violation of the financial reporting requirements" in 2010. Myers was told to she had to 30 days after the judgment became final to pay the penalty.
Court records stated that Myers failed to pay the delinquent penalty even after attempts by the Commission to contact her about payment. An investigation was then opened into the matter, and a formal charge was brought against Myers on October 2014 after she failed to appear for a sworn statement she was subpoenaed to give in February 2014.
In October 2014, Myers was also ordered a 12-month suspension without pay for failing to turn in annual financial statements with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for 2007, 2008, and 2009.
According to court records, Myers then failed to attend a hearing she was subpoenaed to and also did not respond to requests by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for discovery files. Court documents stated she continued to ignore the matter by not showing up before the Commission in August 2015 when ordered there for questioning.
After that, the court documents said that "the Commission (finding no middle ground for redressing Respondent's serious and persistent misconduct) concluded the appropriate sanction in this case was removal from office, as recommended by the OSC."
Myers, who is not an attorney, first became the justice of the peace for that district on December 31, 2002. Her current term was set to end on December 31, 2020.
Myers, who had been the justice of the peace for about 10 years when the 2012 penalty arose, had been sanction before by the Supreme Court three times for other financial reporting laws pertaining to her office.
In an opinion, Justice John Weimer called the Myers' behavior "extremely troubling" as it showed a "blatant disregard" for all the legal matters she ignored.
"A judicial officer who refuses to abide by the law and refuses to comply with a court order is not worthy of holding the title of judge and sitting in judgment of others," stated Justice Weimer in his discussion about the case. "Allowing a judicial officer, who refuses to follow the law and to abide by an order of this court, to remain in office would be a disservice to the public, to the litigants that appear before that judicial officer, and to our system of justice."
The justice of the peace office was declared vacant, and Myers is not allowed to be qualify as a candidate for any judicial office for five years and until the state's high court certified she was eligible to become a candidate.
Myers also has to pay the Commission for the court costs of $288. That is in addition to the other penalties she already has to pay.