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Sias case may be near end

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 2:00 pm

Even though drug, firearm and counterfeit money charges against former Lee Street Alternative School Principal Darius Sias still are making their way through the courts five and a half years later, there may be an end in sight for the case.

In a hearing Monday, 16th Judicial District Court Judge Gerard B. Wattigny heard testimony from Sias and former Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office narcotics agent Jerrell Tauzin on the misdemeanor counts — possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia — against Sias.

Assistant District Attorney Rob Vines said Tuesday morning that Wattigny would take the testimony under advisement, going back to previous court transcripts to review testimony before rendering a decision on those matters in coming weeks.

And, as the misdemeanor case comes to a conclusion, Sias faces a Feb. 4 felony trial date on charges of possession of cocaine, three counts of possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance, monetary instrument abuse (possession of counterfeit money) and conspiracy to commit perjury.

Sias, along with 29-year-old Derrick Derouen of New Iberia, was arrested on July 29, 2008, after Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents conducted an early morning raid on his home. Sias was placed on administrative leave the following day and, after an administrative hearing on Sept. 18, 2008, suspended with pay.

His status was changed to suspended without pay after a hearing on Oct. 28, 2008, and after a Feb. 5, 2009, tenure hearing Sias was fired from his job with the Iberia Parish school system.

Adding some murk to the case against Sias was the arrest months later of Tauzin. In January 2009, a 35-page bill of information charged Tauzin with 10 counts of malfeasance in office, five counts of illegal possession of stolen things, five counts of theft over $500 and five counts of burglary.

Sias appealed the firing to the 16th District Court, which refused to reinstate the former principal.

On the criminal charges, delays and legal maneuvering continued as well. Sias’ lawyer, Harold Register of Lafayette, requested delaying the criminal trial in mid-2010, saying the trial should be delayed until Sias’ appeal of the School Board’s decision to fire him was settled in 16th Judicial District Court. District Judge James McClelland upheld Sias’ termination, including in his ruling numerous explicit details surrounding Sias’ criminal charges.

In January 2011, Register again appeared in court to request a date be set for the charges against Sias to be heard.

Sias then brought his termination to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in 2011. He said in his appeal that not only had the lower court found incorrectly that the School Board had enough evidence to fire him, he also claimed that Tauzin’s presence in the investigation tainted the charges made against him.

In October, 2011, Sias’ appeal was denied.

After Tauzin’s arrest, Vines said at least three of Tauzin’s cases were dismissed because the state had only Tauzin as a witness. While some of Tauzin’s cases have been unaffected because of video evidence, Vines has said cases that rely on Tauzin and lack corroborative evidence will not be prosecuted. And, according to court records, the case against Sias relies on testimony from several sources. 

According to court documents, Sias admitted to using marijuana the night his home was raided and told investigators the drugs found in the home belonged to a former student.

“The photographic evidence … as to where the drugs and guns were found within Sias’ residence seriously dispute Sias’ statement that the drugs belonged to (a former student),” McClelland said in his ruling. 

Another witness told detectives Sias often smoked marijuana around his neighbors, friends and “most importantly in the presence of one of his students,” according to court documents.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Anonymous posted at 11:52 am on Thu, Sep 11, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    So a crooked and disgraced cops in jail or kick out of the Sherriff's office don't cut legal corners and are incapable of framing people. I'd like to see some of these people apply that logic to a crooked and quack doctor operating on someone and see how far that goes.

  • Anonymous posted at 11:44 am on Thu, Sep 11, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    Every crooked cop involved in that case is either in jail or fired. Most folk won't bother reading the court public court transcripts, but I did. The weed found in the house belong to one of the visitors in the house, the police issued that person a citation. the counterfeit money found was brought in by the other party and they paid Mr. Sias with the fake money for a tattoo he did for them before the police raided the house. Mr. Sias denied having cocaine the cops said was in the house and Mr. Sias passed two drug test which the DA contested as not legitimate even though it was their people who conducted the test. The gun found was a legally owned and registered gun belonging to Mr. Sias. The cop in jail, stole from Mr. Sias and was well known as being a crooked cop.

  • Anonymous posted at 9:25 am on Tue, Mar 18, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    Help me out here, were narcotics, weapons and conterfeit money not found in the early morning raid? whats that? ALL OF THIS EVIDENCE was found, but since a crooked cop was involved it doesnt count. Keep telling yourself that, let him go back and teach your children, not mine.

    -Whats wrong with you people

  • Anonymous posted at 9:08 pm on Mon, Mar 17, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    It's been almost 6 years! Everyone knows they did Mr. Sias wrong and this was a set up, where is the justice!

  • Anonymous posted at 4:04 pm on Thu, Feb 27, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    Tauzin and all those cops were crooked, and Mr. Sias was a great teacher and coach. It's really sad.

  • Anonymous posted at 9:17 am on Tue, Jan 21, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    Maybe the story should read, a good teacher wrongly accused and targeted by crooked ex-cops notorious for beating up on and robbing people in New Iberia, and an overzealous and corrupt DA who stalled the case for six years. New Iberia lost a great teacher and coach to this nonsense.

  • Anonymous posted at 9:52 pm on Mon, Jan 20, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    It is ridiculous that the DA (who also represents the school board) took 6 years to prosecute a misdemeanor case and justify the firing of Mr. Sias based on false evidence and people who basically perjured themselves in open court.

    If the DA has all these “witnesses” to testify to get Mr. Sias fired from his job, why didn’t he call them to testify again under oath in front of a judge?

    This is police and political corruption at its worse!!!

  • Anonymous posted at 9:49 pm on Mon, Jan 20, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    It was hilarious watching the DA trying to explain a convicted ex-cop Tauzin stealing Mr Sias' personal items and conflicts in his “police report”, two ex-police officers who could not remember the with whom they talked to get the "information," and a police officer who was the "evidence officer' who could not explain gross discrepancies with his own “evidence,” a “confidential informant” who called Tauzin a “dirty cop” and “never would talk to him,” and Derrick Derouen who testified that he was “paid $45 dollars and all his charges dropped for adverse testimony about Mr. Sias at his tenure hearing.”

  • Anonymous posted at 9:44 pm on Mon, Jan 20, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    If there were other witnesses why did they not testify at the trial? The only witnesses that testified contradicted each other. Bring on the truth, numerous delays were because of the District Attorneys office. Check all the real facts not just what you are given.

  • Anonymous posted at 10:35 pm on Thu, Jan 16, 2014.

    Anonymous Posts: 128880

    Its time to move forward. Praying for you and your family coach.


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