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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Recent judicial candidate arrested

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 9:09 PM

By Johnathan Manning

A local attorney who ran for a judge’s seat in the April 5 election was arrested Wednesday on a domestic abuse battery allegation that dates to last year.

Michael P. Ned, 43, 917 Alice St., was also booked for child endangerment, two counts of violating a protective order and filing a false public record.

A woman, Vanessa R. Tutson, 50, 1115 N. Booker St., was also arrested on one count of filing a false public record.

Both turned themselves in to the Calcasieu Correctional Center, Kim Myers, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said. Judge Richard Wilson set Ned’s bond at $7,000 and Tutson’s at $2,000.

Ned said the charges are false and that he is “being framed.”

“This is political,” he said. “I’m totally innocent. I didn’t do any domestic violence.”

Ned finished second in the election, behind Sharon Wilson, to fill the 14th Judicial District Court’s Division F seat, which was vacated when Wilford Carter stepped down during his term. Wilson received 68 percent of the vote, Ned received 21 percent and Derrick Kee received 12 percent.

Ned said the charges are meant to keep him from running again in the fall, when an election will be held for the seat’s next full, six-year term.

Deputies began investigating Ned in September, when Ned’s wife claimed she was sitting on the back patio of their home when he came out of the house and began beating her with his fist, knocking her unconscious, Myers said. A 13-year-old family member saw Ned dragging his wife into the house, put a pillow over her face and say “she had to die,” Myers said.

Carter, who stepped down Oct. 31, issued a protective order against Ned on Oct. 17, Myers said.

Ned and Tutson used false information to try to get an Order of Protective Custody for his wife on Dec. 12, Myers said. Ned and Tutson contacted the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office, claiming his wife was a danger to herself and the community, Myers said. His wife agreed to a psychological evaluation and was released the same day, Myers said.

Ned’s wife reported on Jan. 12 that Ned was contacting her through a third party, Myers said. Ned said the charges are “fake” and are meant to make him look like a “wife-beater.”

District Attorney John DeRosier said charges were not filed until after April 5 for two reasons.

“I wanted the people of that judicial subdistrict to have a fair and free election,” DeRosier said. “To file a criminal charge against one of the candidates, who was a known candidate at the time we got the file, would certainly impact the election.”

Second, DeRosier said, there was concern that blame would be placed on Ned’s wife if the election was lost.

“Rather than run the risk in both of those scenarios, we thought it was more appropriate to defer until after the election,” he said.

Had Ned won, he still would have had to face the charges, DeRosier said.

Ned said the charges were a “setup” to keep him from running again for the Division F seat. He also said charges weren’t brought before April 5 because of how it would have looked in the black community.

“If we wanted to unfavorably impact his election, we would have filed the charge as soon as we got it,” DeRosier said. “I simply don’t understand the logic of what he’s trying to say.”

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