Last Modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 9:07 PM
A federal judge was charged with DWI on Friday, more than two weeks after she was stopped in her driveway on suspicion of drunken driving.
Judge Patricia Minaldi, of the Western District of Louisiana, was issued an open-container citation Jan. 23. On Friday, Lake Charles police announced they were charging Minaldi with first-offense DWI.
Police did so after an investigation that “included a complete review of the in-car video camera footage, witness statements and officer observations” concluded Friday, Cpl. Larry Moss said in a news release.
On Friday, police also released dash-cam footage of the stop, following a request by news organizations for the video. The American Press filed a public records request for the video on Feb. 7.
In the video, Minaldi declines to submit to a field sobriety test. An officer is seen repeatedly asking Minaldi to exit her
vehicle. Minaldi repeatedly tells him “no” before officers remove her from the car.
Posted By: crystal smith On: 7/11/2014
Title: judge?? so what!
Just sickening. She probably drinks and drives eveyday, still! But yet, she still gets to judge people and hand down sentencing for the same criminal behavior that she engages in. Someone needs to make an "example" of her! This is just ridiculous!
Posted By: Kelley On: 4/11/2014
Title: public can help
If you see her in a bar, take pictures with your cell phone. Be sure to get a photo of her leaving the parking lot. post them online, send them to the media. Maybe it will force her to get help.
Posted By: Stacy Duhonstacy On: 3/16/2014
Title: Lcpd Officer
I am proud of the arresting officer for keeping his oath, "TO PROTECT AND SERVE". It's sad that he is the only one obeying the law. He was totally professional during this ordeal & unwavering in his duty of upholding the laws of this country, no matter who he was dealing with!!!
Posted By: Holly On: 3/11/2014
Title: Active Alcoholic Remains on Bench
Judge Minaldi has already resumed drinking at her local watering holes. Clearly, her DWI is just a symptom of her advanced alcoholism. Furthermore, our community remains with an active alcoholic Judge on the bench and we deserve better. Judge Minaldi should by required to enter a long term treatment facility because she has relapse after more limited treatment.
Posted By: J. Guidry On: 3/6/2014
Title: This Is So Corrupt It STINKS, A Total Illegal Cover-up
This is my personal take on what happened and is only my opnion. FACTS ARE FACTS, PERIOD. We all make mistakes but if you drink and drive and are stopped all I can say is if you do the crime you do the time. She could have killed someone walking on the side of the road or a car load of children. A lot of people feel sorry for Judge Minaldi but not me, how many times has she got away with this kind of law breaking activity and how many times has favors been rendered in cases like this to her and other high profile people.
I commend the Lake Charles American Press for keeping this story alive without the attempted intent to cover up this story and the brave courage to KPLC-TV for doing what it takes (no matter what it takes) to keep this story alive and not be intimidated. These 2 above mentioned businesses have an obligation to the public to report and keep digging into these kinds of issues (no matter what the repercussions would be) so it won’t be sweep under the rug as would have been done had the opportunity presented itself differently but fortunately exposure prevented this to happen.
The only good thing that came out of this whole ordeal was the young officer’s professionalism in handling this situation up until the point that he made a call and he was told to bring Judge Patricia Minaldi to the Lake Charles Police Department instead of the jailhouse on Broad Street where she was should have been taken in the first place. This officer’s professionalism sadly stopped here where upper supervisors took over. Charges at that time should have been: DUI/DWI charges, resisting arrest, failure to obey an officers repeated commands, refusal to take a breathalyzer test which also comes with losing your drivers’ license for this refusal (which according to the State Police if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test you are brought to the hospital for a blood sample to be drawn by force and test run from there to find out what substances are in your system) which also did not happen. Not to mention being so wasted (and couldn’t comprehend who had stopped her in the first place) that she was “name dropping” trying to get Commander Mike Byrne from the Sheriff's Office to help her out of this situation but the Sheriff’s Office had nothing to do with this incident because the LC Police Dept. was the legal responder handling this case.
If called upon Sheriff Tony Mancuso’s officers had not handled this call to the letter of the law all involved that did wrong doing would be looking for a job within 48 hours. Tony is a good man, a loyal devoted police officer but is also a no frills law abiding man. Please go to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office website and read the Letter from the Sheriff, it is simple and straight forward. The first word of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office motto is Duty. They are a passionate caring department but foremost a law enforcement department. It will bring tears to your eyes.
Due to the public outcry the people who SHOULD be held accountable (and all knew of the situation) and forced to resign, be fired or voted out of office are: (remember S*** rolls down hill) Mayor Randy Roach (who has not been in the limelight BUT how much does he really know or is silently in control of?) who is fragile being to begin with and is not a fearless leader by no means will do nothing to resolve this matter which he should do being the highest city official. Mayor Roach is also Chief Don Dixons boss, (it has also been noted that Chief Dixon is somewhat intimidating) but he has to answer to someone for his actions whether it be Mayor Roach, the city council, the State Police who investigates these types of cases or if it goes far enough a grand jury if requested by the District Attorney, Chief Don Dixon himself, any and all the supervisors or upper rank and file members who made the judgment call where to bring her and finally Judge Patricia Minaldi herself. Judge Minaldi’s attempt to avoid arrest for DUI/DWI charges and numerous other charges may constitute a charge of Malfeasance in office and therefore grounds for removal from office and prosecution. (Remember Judge Patricia Minaldi is a high profile public official and has MUCH STROKE in high places) but she’s not GOD. How many hundreds of other high profile people have gotten the VIP treatment? Here you have a gross amount of departmental negligence and Malfeasance in office by the person who told the officer where to take her, the acting supervisor in charge because Chief Don Dixon wasn’t there at the time the calls came in BUT he was surely kept abreast of the satiation and knew what was going on. Although Mark Krause was on vacation at the time, Judge Minaldi kept demanding the officer contact (Deputy Chief of Police) Mark Krause, has anyone wondered what part he played and what kind of high level working relationship they had.
Does anyone remember after Judge Minaldi’s taking office that she was so strict and hard core (and being the new kid on the block) and used people as "examples", she gave a young man who at the time was 28 yrs. old 5yrs in jail for a first time DWI. And what did she get for her 1st time DWI, a $400 court cost fine, a deferred suspended 1 year sentence with 1 year probation and that she attended church once a week for 1 year in lieu of community service. It must be nice to have that much clot. But this is just a little local picture but the bigger picture is with the federal government, same thing but bigger picture.
A simple question you can ask yourself (but you already know the answer), if the same thing happened to you (Joe the Plumber) would you be asked nicely or pleaded with 20 times to exit the vehicle or would you be asked 1 time the same question what would happen, I think all of us know the answer, we would be tased , jerked out of our vehicle, thrown to the payment slamming our face into the concrete, a knee put on our neck with several officers pointing guns at us, handcuffed, thrown in a police cruiser and taken to jail to be booked with 1st offense DWI/DUI, put in a cell and sometime thereafter have bail set so you can go home. Then you are assigned a court appointed attorney and a trial date, I think you get the picture. Common folks don’t stand a chance but high official’s get that “High Official” treatment. This is the most illegal, corrupt cover-up that has occurred in a long time in Calcasieu Parish. I am so embarrassed to call myself a citizen of this parish.
Posted By: sclarkboy On: 2/28/2014
Title: Drunk Judge
Well first off she was treated special,and second she should not be on the bench because she was bullying the cop with her name dropping .Now what we need to see is a video of the people she gave jail time for the same crime she plead guilty of. Now whats going to happen now nothing ! Until she kill somebody !
Posted By: Skeptical2 On: 2/28/2014
Title: Naughty Judge
First, thank you to the Lake Charles American Press and its reports for having the courage to report the news impartially and for keeping this important story from simply being swept under the rug. I hope that you will continue to ask the hard questions about this case and not let it simply be forgotten. Patty and her friends want it to go away because they know if more people keep asking questions she will be held accountable. Additionally, to the brave young officer who pulled Patty Minaldi over and refused to allow her to name drop her way out of arrest; you have my respect!! I know the young officer would say he "was simply doing his duty" but we should appreciate his bravery and refusal to be bullied by a name dropping public offical. Patty was intentionally attempting to bait him and intimidate him the entire time he had her pulled over and later while he was transporting her to the police station. We need more young officers like this young man!
In response to the individual below, I agree these people need to be held accountable. What happen is clear, Patty (Judge Minaldi) was not only to drunk to drive, she was too drunk to run her mouth. More accurately, she was too drunk to know when to keep her mouth shut. Is she so arrogant to believe that she is so far above the law she can simply ignore the arresting officer's demands that she exist her vehicle? Apparently she is and this clearly illustrates why she should be asked to resign or removed from the federal bench due to her impairment and the abuse of her office. Patty should realize that her asking for "special favors" and using her title "judge Minaldi" in attempt to avoid arrest for DWI may constitute a charge of Malfeasance in office and thus grounds for prosecution and removal. She is a federal judge in my opinion she has lost all credibility to sit on cases, especially criminal cases. Yes, a federal judge can be removed due impairment and abusing her office.
Chief Dixon should be asked point blank by the mayor why Patty was demanding the officer contact Mark Krause.(Deputy Chief of Police). Patty clearly had some reason to believe Mark Krause would assist her in getting out of the situation and avoiding further detention and arrest. One question, is Mark Krause now in charge of the VIP desk at Lake Charles City Police? An interesting question, has this happen before? If so why was it kept quite? Have others received the "VIP" treatment at Lake Charles City Police? Randy Roach is not going to do anything about it. Our mayor is a good man but lets face reality, Randy is not exactly fearless leader material and our Chief of Police, Don Dixon can be somewhat intimidating. If Mayor Roach wanted to get to bottom of this and hold those in the Lake Charles Police department accountable, he could do so. After all, the mayor appoints the police chief, thus, he is Don Dixon's boss. Unfortunately, I do not have any hope that pressure of that sort will ever come from Randy.
If Patty Will not do the right thing and step aside, citizens who care about this should complain to the office of U.S. Courts (Google it). There is a form that they can send to the US courts to complain about this and it will be investigated. She should be removed not so much for her DWI but because of her abuse of office by trying to gain special favors from friends to avoid arrest.
Posted By: Skeptical On: 2/27/2014
Title: Skeptical Our Mayor Has Integrity!
I have read only a handful of comments asking for someone to hold accountable the individual (or individuals) who made the decision to NOT charge Minaldi with DUI (until forced to do so). Is it me, or has anyone else noticed how eerily quiet our Mayor is on this subject? I have called my City Councilman and asked him to put pressure on the Mayor to first, reveal to the public what he knows, and second, announce what action he plans to take. Jim Beam's editorial on this subject patted the American Press on the back for forcing the "Government" to eventually do the right thing. But isn't our "Government" made up of individuals. If the mayor doesn't hold these individuals accountable, then there can be only two reasons. One, he was the one who made the call, or two, he is too weak to hold his appointees accountable for their actions! If the mayor doesn't act upon this, the City Council should demand his resignation! If the City Council doesn't act, we should vote them out! The thing that really scares me about this whole episode Is that I have to wonder how many DUIs have the city police "forgiven"? I wonder how the Mayor, City Council, or Chief of Police can sleep at night knowing those guilty of DUI, who are not charged, might kill someone's child the following month. After all, there is no reason for those individuals to stop drinking and then driving!
Posted By: WHITEPERCH On: 2/25/2014
Title: FEDERAL JUDGE DUI
DON`T YOU LOSE YOU DL IF YOU REFUSE A BREATH TEST. SHE SHOULD BE TREATED JUST LIKE THE REST OF US TAZED WHEN SHE DIDN`T OBEY THE COPS ORDERS. FACE PLANTED IN THE CONCRETE. HOW CAN SHE SENTENCE PEOPLE TO JAIL FOR DUI WHEN SHE IS DRIVING DRUNK HERSELF.
Posted By: Citizen in this fine parish On: 2/25/2014
Title: Name Dropping
Ha ha ha she was name dropping asking for Commander Mike Byrne from the Sheriff's Office. Tony would have fired the deputies for doing this (holding everyone accountable to the law). She must have been so drunk she thought it was the sheriff's office hoping that Mike Byrne could help her but he's not with the city police who was arresting her. She sounded 3 sheets into the wind. I like the officer at the end of the second video saying keep it rolling, "she's name dropping now".
Posted By: Allen Martin On: 2/23/2014
Title: I have sinned
I have sinned and she gave me 3 years probation. Shoes on the other foot. Sorry your friend got caught TexCajun but let's go off history and give her what she gives us for 1st DWI. Sad thing is she can afford all those fines and will get the best lawyer. Things might be different if she had compassion for people that go in front of her but she makes examples out of people and now it's her turn. Bet she has her license already if she ever lost it.
Posted By: peon On: 2/23/2014
Title: The rich need to stop getting special privileges
She should resign.
Posted By: Rob On: 2/17/2014
Title: drunk judge
They should have used force just like they would have done anyone else!
Posted By: TexCajun On: 2/17/2014
Title: Let he without sin......
Cast the first stone.
Posted By: MADD On: 2/17/2014
She could have killed many in the condition that she was in. It is very sad and unbelievable. She's "special" even when it comes to trusting lives with her....MADD.....you should be MADD. She's a mother too....
Posted By: People of Lake Charles On: 2/17/2014
Title: Elephant in the Room
OK guys, this matter still stinks to high heaven. Why on earth wasn't this woman BOOKED??? SOMEBODY made the call to release her WITHOUT BEING BOOKED and to ONLY CHARGE HER WITH AN OPEN CONTAINER??? Now, one thing appears perfectly clear to me, THIS WOMAN WAS DUI, HANDS DOWN!!! Now, she should have been booked. But she wasn't. WHY??? Who made this call??? Would someone please keep digging and get the public an answer to this???
Posted By: PQW On: 2/16/2014
you and I are not afforded that same relaxing atmosphere when it comes to a cop asking you to get out of the car. After the second time he asks we are getting tazered and then on the ground getting our butt kicked. Of course he was the nice police officer. He was dealing with a frickin federal judge.
Posted By: Buddy On: 2/16/2014
The officer's handling of this was impeccable. Yes it took time and patience to get her out of the car. The alternative would have been to take her out of the vehicle by force after a couple of attempts to talk her into stepping out on her own. He was much wiser in waiting for other officers to arrive on the scene because if she had resisted and a struggle had ensued, all she would have had to do was slip down, hit her head or whatever and turn around and claim brutality or assault and this case would have turned into a fiasco. I appreciate the fact that she was arrested irregardless of how long it took to get her out of the vehicle and I think the video shows clearly that the officer made a good arrest, and if it gets thrown out it won't be because he bungled the arrest.
Posted By: Chuc On: 2/16/2014
Title: hand cuffs
Why wasn't she in cuffs like anyone else that would have been arrested
Posted By: Dwight On: 2/16/2014
Title: They called her Patti
The first news story in the American Press called her "Patti Minaldi". Since when do the police release a shortened version of a name? If it had been me or you they would have released the full name middle name included. Did they think that the great unwashed public would not gloom on to the fact that "Patti" is short for "Patricia"
Posted By: FiddleDeeDee On: 2/16/2014
Title: It was only a matter if time...
Seriously Tommy? You sound as foolish as this woman (sorry...too harsh?) for either believing that story or thinking others might. People like you are the reason she's gotten away with her drunken escapades for this long. Accolades to this police officer for standing his ground on what he knew to be right, rather than being swayed by a title that should be held as accountable as any person, if not more so (considering she knows the law and is holding others accountable to it everyday).
Posted By: Grant Cardone On: 2/15/2014
Title: Who sent the cops
Who has it in for this Judge - Louisiana law isn't called on am official without someone having an agenda.
Posted By: Tommy Fontenot Jr On: 2/15/2014
Title: She is Not Guilty
She was not feeling well, and probably had low sugar level..
and worked a long day. She had just pored the wine after she
pulled up in her drive. That is legal to have a drink in your own drive.
Posted By: Sue On: 2/15/2014
Title: Book Em Danno
Political power is defined as the "ability to control men's minds and actions:" Lake Charles Police Department was WRONG as the way this was handled. No turning back now. You made your bed now you can lay in it. I'm ashamed to be called a citizen of Calcasieu Parish having a police department doing this kind of BS. Pitiful to say the least.
Posted By: Reginald LeDoux On: 2/15/2014
Title: Thank you american Press and KPLC!
Thanks for your persistance in reporting this story! The city clearly wanted to sweep this under the rug. Its shameful how things work down here. Qid Pro quo. They let her off on this DWI and the next time the police violate a citizen's civil rights and they bring it before her.... (they got her in their back pocket)
Posted By: good 4 one good 4 all On: 2/15/2014
Title: Not buying the BS
Back in the day when she was soooo strict and hard and used people as "examples" she gave my brother who at the time was 28 yrs.old ...5yrs in jail for a first time DWI, I wonder if she will get something similar since the officers had to wrestle her out of her vehicle after begging 20+ times first to get out of the car.
Posted By: Patrick Robinson On: 2/15/2014
Title: Patrick Robinson
I couldn't be more proud of the arresting officer. He was rightfully careful to make certain there was more than enough evidence that Judge Minaldi was being uncooperative. After Minaldi arrives at the police station and is escorted into the building, the same officer is heard to be questioning why Minaldi was being brought to an unnamed individual's office. You could make an argument that the Acting Chief was also being careful, EXCEPT for the fact Minaldi wasn't, at the time, charged with DUI. If the American Press does its job, the supervisor responsible for making the decision not to charge Minaldi with DUI will be forced to resign. Publicly, the arresting officer will be praised, but I'm sure he is aware that he will probably be passed over for promotions and will have difficulty finding employment with other Law Enforcement Agencies. After all, who wants to hire a "troublemaker"? In this case a "troublemaker" is an individual who puts his duty above his career. He will earn the respect of his peers and the public and thankfully, that is good enough for him!
Posted By: Don't bash the Officer On: 2/15/2014
Title: Walk in the officers shoes
As an ex-Police Officer, I know exactly what he felt. First you observe what could be a DUI suspect. You begin recording and make the stop. While making the stop, you're having the plates run. As you get out of your car and walking toward the suspect car, your dispatch calls out the car description and owner. At this point you're committed, having already called it out and started the video, which can't just be erased. Now lets assume he's not a rookie, who isn't familiar with the names of any influential names that could really come back to bite him later. That seasoned officer is now processing in his head "Holy Crap", do I do the right thing or do I just let her go in her house. He would've had a Judge indebted to him for a long time to come.
Thank you for doing the right thing and showing that everyone should be held accountable, regardless of who they may be. I was in a similar situation and had to arrest a superior officer. It was one of the most nerve wrecking things I ever did as a Police Officer.
As far as charges being made, it's not up to that officer. That's above his pay grade.
Posted By: Juror #5 On: 2/15/2014
Title: Role reversal
She was escorted into jail like she was being escorted down the aisle of a Marxist Grass ball......the only difference is, she would have been more sober at the ball than she was there. I don't have a problem with the officer at all and how he handled the traffic stop. He was patient as he should be and courteous. My problem is the level of entitlement she feels but wouldn't acknowledge the same type of accountability to match that entitlement. It's not so fun being on the other dude of that desk is it...........oh yeah, call Mark Krause yourself with the phone call they give you.
Posted By: John Q Public On: 2/15/2014
Title: Two Standards
how silly of that officer... he brought to the police station on Enterprise Blvd instead of the jailhouse on Broad Street.
Also I'm curious of the audio feed cut at the point of the rear entrance of the City Police station when one officer was asking the other "why did you bring her here" "Because I was told to" "By who?" .........................No Audio
Oh well at least they were really sweet to her and all !
Posted By: Shonna On: 2/15/2014
No matter what the regard. I feel bad for her bc I'm sure it's very embarrassing considering she's a public figure. OF COURSE she's going to get special attention. Is it fair? Not one bit but, it's not our place to be involved.
I counted 20 something times as well. Yes, I was upset over that, and confused. However, my concern isn't that, it's that she could have hurt herself or someone else.
I'm sure at this point she's aware of her mistake. We ALL make them.
I believe justice will be served & sadly, she will suffer the consequences for the rest if her life... not being able to ever slam a gavel again.
Posted By: Allen Martin On: 2/15/2014
Title: Escorted to jail
The arresting officer should run for sheriff!!!
Posted By: ashamed of LCPD! On: 2/15/2014
Title: NOT EVEN CLOSE
Funny the "special attention" she gets for just being HER. Did I count... 20 something times he asked her to get out of the car? Wow!
Hmmmm, I wonder if they'll make her enter Pre Trial Diversion or if she'll get off w/something as simple as 20 hours of community service. Even then, she won't do it. Someone will sign off for her.
Posted By: Joe Barry On: 2/15/2014
Notice she is holding her arm and she s not in hand cuffs.
Posted By: Not surprised On: 2/14/2014
Wow, it only took 2 whole weeks to charge her. Yeah, any normal citizen would have been tased, aggressively handled, and they sure would've been charged with resisting arrest or something! She wouldn't have been charged now except all the uproar about it. I'm sorry if she made a mistake, but being a judge should have no effect on any criminal behavior she chooses to engage in. It's a token charge anyway, she will get away with a slap on the wrist.
Posted By: Leroy On: 2/14/2014
It's the american way plain and simple.
Posted By: amazed On: 2/14/2014
How many times do you think that cop would ask ME to step out of the vehicle before he slammed my face into the concrete for saying no???!! Do you think he would ask ME 10 times, beg me over and over to co-operate with him, do you? THIS IS POLICE CORRUPTION, PURE AND SIMPLE, ONE SET OF RULES FOR THE PUBLIC AND ANOTHER SET OF RULES FOR THE ROYAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.