Local prosecutor argues before U.S. Supreme Court - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Local prosecutor argues before U.S. Supreme Court

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Only a few attorneys ever argue before the U.S. Supreme Court -- and now, Calcasieu  Assistant District Attorney Carla Sigler is one of them.

The case involves Jonathan Boyer, convicted of second-degree murder of Bradlee Marsh. And the issues that brought it before the high court have to do with delays in the case and whether the State of Louisiana is to blame for inadequately funding the defense for Boyer, who could not afford to hire an attorney. 

Sigler argued for the state.

"His (Boyer's) claim before the U.S. Supreme Court that's pending now is that he did not receive a speedy trial, when most of the delay in his trial was due to continuances sought by his own attorney," Sigler said.

Sigler has experience arguing before appeal courts such as the Third Circuit.

"But there's nothing like the intimidation factor of a crowd full of people and a nation watching because there are people that spend a lot of time watching what that court does very closely because it makes policy on a national level, so it was quite intimidating," Sigler said.

And the audio transcripts are available online.

"Every word that you said during that argument is available to people anywhere throughout the world on the worldwide web to access. So, that's an incredibly intimidating factor," said Sigler.

Sigler is pleased to have had the opportunity.

"I certainly hope that I did a good enough job for the court to give due consideration to our case and to be able to get a favorable outcome for the state and for the victim's family," said Sigler.

The attorney who spoke for the defendant is Richard Bourke of New Orleans. The court has until June to decide whether to let the defendant go free, send it back to the appeal court for reconsideration or affirm the conviction.

Sigler declined to talk about it, but her comments did cause Justice Clarence Thomas to speak -- something that hasn't happened during an oral argument before the court in nearly seven years.

Justice Thomas has said that his fellow justices ask too many questions during oral arguments and that disrupts the lawyers' presentations.

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