GSU holds criminal justice session update

On Nov. 14, at Grambling City Hall, around fifty people interested and many officers from different parishes and agencies attended the Criminal Law Update.

       The purpose of the Criminal Law Update Training was to educate law enforcement on recent challenges in law recent cases in domestic  violence, search and seizure, and criminal law in general.

       The speaker of the Criminal Law Update Judge Harmon Drew Jr. from Minden. Drew served as city judge in Minden and Bossier, and has worked 15 years on Second Circuit Court of Appeal.

       The speakers spoke about domestic violence, misdemeanors, stalking, penalties, restraining orders, civil and criminal acts, jail time, traffic stops, felonies, stages of frisking, cyber stalking, and much more.

         “One of the pleasures of being a part of the Criminal Law Update and a judge in general are the questions that I get asked,” said Judge Drew, “you all wouldn’t believe them.”

       He then spoke about updates and duties of law enforces today. Some that stuck out were those that happen often, such as traffic stops, use of illegal substances, domestic violence, and misdemeanor and felony charges.

       Drew reminded the officers how to perform certain daily duties like how to correctly make traffic stops, and then proceed in making an arrest if necessary.

       If the officer has a reasonable belief that the driver has weapons or illegal substances in the car, the officer may ask the driver to step out of their vehicle without violating their Fourth Amendment rights and the vehicle may be searched.

       “Reasonable suspicion is determined by 30 percent or 50 percent of suspicion then the individual will have probable cause,” said Judge Drew.   

       He informed attendees that with reasonable suspicion a SITA, is a thorough search of the passenger’s compartments and containers therein for weapons and evidence, can then be performed.

       Drew talked about the importance of detailed police reports including all evidence

in order to make an arrest or prosecution, because police reports are also done on a regular basis.

       A police report is a description of facts surrounding a crime or incident written up by the officer who was present at the scene of action. A well-written report plays a huge role in sometimes helping to solve a case or winninga lawsuit, therefore it is imperative to make sure your report is detailed, factual and easy for others to read, the judge said.

       Laurie Whitter James, a Lincoln Parish assistant district attorney, spoke on domestic violence issues, how much bonds can cost, and misdemeanors and felonies.

The difference between felonies and misdemeanors is a felony is a crime with punishment of death or even life imprisonment, and a misdemeanor is a punishment of fine or forfeiture of six months and/ or prison for two years.

       Important information and questions filled the Grambling City Hall during the Criminal Law Update.

      Those who came to the Criminal Law update left with a refresher and new knowledge on theft related crimes, DUI driving crimes, drug possession and sale, weapon laws, and assault laws and many other concerns that Judge Drew & the crew explained.

       “I really enjoyed the Criminal Law Update session,” said Starcorius Dyes.

The one-day Criminal Law Update Training was a success; it was designed to keep those interested up-to-date with all relevant changes and developments in criminal law, criminal practice and procedure, and evidence and sentencing.