Legislature: Bill would exempt some jury information from public records

By By Jim Beam / American Press

BATON ROUGE — A bill designed to exempt certain public records dealing with court juries was temporarily deferred Tuesday

by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee over concerns it was too broad.

Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, is sponsor of Senate Bill 353, which he said is designed to exempt personal information

submitted by jurors in court questionnaires.

State District Judge Brady O’Callaghan

of Caddo Parish spoke in support of the legislation. He said the

information the bill

is designed to protect includes personal information like

religious preferences, employment, health issues, family information

and questions about whether jurors have been crime victims.

It isn’t designed to prohibit or conceal public records, he said, but involves issues like one that occurred in Caddo Parish.

O’Callaghan said the mother of a defendant there used the questionnaires to make contact with prospective jurors.

Lamondre Tucker, 23, who has been on death row at Angola since his March 2011 conviction on first-degree murder, was returned

to Caddo Parish to stand trial on a jury tampering charge.

Prosecutors said both Lamondre and his

mother, Alicia Tucker, tried to coerce a potential juror in his murder

trial into changing

her testimony in an attempt to get on the jury.

The potential juror reportedly told the judge of the incident. A jury later found Lamondre guilty of jury tampering. He faces up to 33 years in prison in addition to his death sentence.

His mother is awaiting trial on a the same charge.

Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, is chairman of the committee. He said he was OK with the intent of the bill, but that it has

a lot of opposition and asked Peacock to defer it for a week.

“The bill is too broad, and we need to get some tighter language,” Amedee said. “I don’t think anybody wants any litigation

over this.”