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After arrest, Independence questions how to treat mayor

Back on Aug. 6, an Independence, Louisiana, police officer pulled over the mayor of Independence's son. The mayor was on the scene and allegedly became belligerent with the officer and slammed a car door on her arm.

On Sept. 27, the mayor of was arrested and booked into jail pending charges of resisting arrest, battery of an officer and public intimidation. The offenses are all misdemeanors.

Now, flash forward to Monday. That's when the Independence Board of Aldermen rejected a proposal that would have called for the mayor to take a leave of absence until his case was resolved. One alderman refused to vote, so the measure failed after tying at two votes for and two votes against. Evidently, the aldermen could not decide whether the mayor should be asked to take a leave of absence with pay or a leave of absence without pay, so they could not reach an agreement.

Now, if the mayor was indeed disrespectful and violent toward a police officer, that is not the kind of conduct that is becoming of an elected official.

But then again, he has only been arrested and charged. He has not been convicted of anything yet. It could be argued that asking him to take a leave of absence would amount to giving credibility to the claims against him before they have been fully vetted.

This issue raises questions about the sort of conduct we expect from public officials. It's certainly fair to hold them to the highest standards, but we should not hold them to higher standards than are fair or just. In other words, we shouldn't assume the mayor committed these offenses unless and until a court has determined that he, in fact, did.

Source: The Lafayette Advertiser, "Independence council split after mayor's arrest," Oct. 2, 2012

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Meet Attorney Guillory

Attorney Joshua S. Guillory was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon graduating high school from Alexandria Senior High, he enrolled in classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Josh was a member of Mu Kappa Tau, a national honor society for marketing majors, while attending... Read More

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