The matter of what will happen with Honeycutt – or the case in question – remains uncertain, however.
Honeycutt allegedly refused DWI charges against Alton Shelby Easterly, who was captured by video by a Denham Spring Police Department body camera when he failed a sobriety test Christmas night. Easterly blew a .181 on the Breathalyzer – more than twice the legal limit under state law.
Easterly had contributed $2,500 to Honeycutt’s campaign in a 2016 race for city judge, which he lost to Jerry Denton.
The News reached Honeycutt by phone Oct. 12, but his only response was “No comment.”
Mayor Gerard Landry — who appointed Honeycutt city attorney when he took office as mayor in 2015 — forwarded the case to 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott M. Perrilloux for an investigation July 29. Landry began the probe following a story from a Baton Rouge TV station.
Denham Spring City Court Judge Jerry Denton said he was bypassed on the dismissal of the case.
Easterly was originally scheduled for a Feb. 6 court date, but the case was put on a pretrial program – something which had never been offered in the Denham Springs City Court.
“It was scheduled to come up in court and on that day (the DWI) was removed on the docket, but then it was taken off and then the file showed it had been rescheduled, and then the morning it was supposed to come to court, it wasn’t on the docket,” Denton said. “That was when it was supposedly put in the PTI (pretrial intervention) program which we don’t have here, and obviously that would’ve had to have required some court approval and oversight.
“I didn’t even have a chance to make the determination or decision on it one way or another,” he said.
The file had turned up missing between the February and April court dates, Denton said.
The City Court found the information on the case on the office’s computer database, he said.
“I never had an opportunity to weigh on it because it never got as far as me, so it was all handled outside of my knowledge and actually everything was done in a way in which I was completely bypassed,” Denton said. “I was concerned as to why it was removed from the docket, and that’s when I asked if it had been removed from the docket.”
Easterly came in the morning of April 24, and settled the matter with Honeycutt before court began – a procedure rarely occurs in a DWI case, the judge said.
“It was very much an out-of-the-ordinary procedure for that matter,” Denton said.
The normal procedure involves arraignment, a plea of guilty or innocent, and the assignment of a trial date or status date, after which the defendant is fined or sentenced, he said.
Easterly’s violation still has the possibility of coming to the court, but Denton said it’s not his decision to make.
“It will be up to Scott to decide what he wants to do with it,” Denton said. “He has to move the case one way or another, or he doesn’t have to do anything if he doesn’t want to – it’s strictly his decision whether to prosecute or not prosecute something in his jurisdiction.
“It’s not my call here, it’s not on my docket to be prosecuted and nobody has called on the file … there’s nothing,” Denton said. “It’s in the hands of the DA’S office.”
No transaction has taken place on it, no movement on the file as far as Denton’s court is involved.
“And to my knowledge, it has not been transferred to the 21t JDC, and there’s no reason for it to be transferred,” he said. “The proper place for this matter to be heard, at this point, is here in City Court. “
Denton said he would not comment on how Perrilloux should handle the case, but he does not want the issue to represent a breach of trust by his office.
“My only interest in the entire matter was justice if it came to my court, and treat Mr. Easterly fairly as I would anyone else before me,” Denton said. “People who come to my court expected to be treated fair whether they’re rich or poor, young or old, white or black – that’s their entitlement in accordance to the law.
“In this case, there has been no justice because it hasn’t come before the court, so the ability to determine Easterly’s guilt or innocence has not played out in court,” he said. “He’s innocent until presumed guilty in a court of law – the same thing for everyone else is entitled to in a court of law.
The most important thing to me is that everyone who comes to this court needs to know they’ll be treated fairly and in accordance to the law,” Denton said. “There won’t be any favorable treatment in my court, and that’s what people expect … the right thing no matter what.”