Use of Fake Subpoenas by Louisiana District Attorneys is Apparently Not Uncommon

In April, Charles Maldonado at The Lens exposed the use of fake subpoenas by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office. See Charles Maldonado, Orleans Parish Prosecutors are Using Fake Subpoenas to Pressure Witnesses to Talk to Them (Apr. 26, 2017); Charles Maldonado, Jefferson Parish Prosecutors Used Fake Subpoenas Similar to Those in New Orleans (Apr. 27, 2017).

He reports now that similar practices were underway in St. Tammany Parish:

Unlike the ones in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, [the St. Tammany DA documents] did not say “subpoena.” But they looked real enough:

  • They resembled genuine legal documents, with “Criminal District Court for the Parish of St. Tammany” printed near the top.
  • They bore the name of the clerk of court, whose office summons people for trials.
  • They told recipients they were “hereby notified” to come to the DA’s office to “testify.”

Charles Maldonado, Notices Sent to Witnesses on North Shore Weren’t Called Subpoenas, But They Looked Real Enough (May 19, 2017).

This is good investigative work by Mr. Maldonado. The use of such false and misleading documents—whether they are denominated “subpoenas” or not—likely violates Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 4.1(a), which prohibits false statements of material fact to third persons.