Appeal’s Court rules DA’s office entitled to view mental health records of 2nd degree murderer
The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday, July 1st, that the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office is entitled to see certain mental health records of a second degree murder suspect, overturning a prior ruling of the trial court.
The court of appeal ruled that test data compiled by Dr. Marc Zimmerman during his evaluation of Traveyon Blackledge must be turned over to the State, so that its own expert witnesses can evaluate the results. Blackledge is one of three co-defendants charged in the September 22, 2013 murders of Nikki Landry and Harry Lefort.
The Hon. Jerome J. Barbera, now retired, ruled that under formal rules of discovery, the State was not entitled to the requested materials. The State of Louisiana filed an application for a writ of review, seeking to have that decision overturned.
“We are satisfied that the First Circuit has agreed that we are entitled to these records,” said District Attorney Camille A. Morvant, II. “Our hope is that once this decision becomes final, we can resolve all of the pending pre-trial motions and set a firm jury trial date in the near future.”
The next scheduled court date in this matter is August 28, with the matter now assigned to the Hon. Walter I. Lanier, III. In the interim, the defense has the right to seek either a rehearing at the First Circuit or ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the decision.
Posted on Tue, July 7, 2015
by The Lafourche Gazette