La. Supreme Court upholds district court decision on former Leesville chief’s termination

Bobby Hickman (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)
Bobby Hickman (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)

LEESVILLE, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a decision in 30th Judicial District Court in Vernon regarding the termination of former Leesville Police Chief Bobby Hickman.

In April, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district court judgment upholding the city's termination of Hickman and reinstated him despite his current sentence in federal court on weapons charges. However, the state Supreme Court last week reinstated the district court's decision.

"We take judicial notice of the employee's federal conviction and incarceration. Thus, any alleged failure to follow the procedural requirements of La. R.S. 40:2531 et. Seq. and the corresponding nullification of the termination is rendered moot by the impossibility of reinstatement," the state Supreme Court decision states.

Hickman was terminated by the City of Leesville in January 2011 amid an internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing.

Hickman was sentenced in October 2012 in federal court on weapons charges and ordered to serve 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

The charges came as the result of a separate investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Leesville Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Louisiana State Police and the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office.

The Leesville Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board affirmed the city's termination during a termination appeal hearing in September 2011. That decision was later upheld in district court, but Hickman appealed the decision.

Hickman claimed the city violated state civil service law and the Police Officer's Bill of Rights in his firing. He also claimed that his constitutional rights were violated in the process.

Leesville Mayor Robert Rose on Tuesday released a statement on the state Supreme Court's decision.

"This is a just decision that finally and completely concludes this matter. Mr. Hickman's termination was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Louisiana and the City of Leesville owes him nothing. This distraction is now over and the City Council and I continue to concentrate on moving the city forward to continue the renovation of our water system, beginning construction of the Vernon/Fort Polk Development Project along La. 467 and beginning the implementation of our economic development plan," Rose said.

You can view the decision HERE.

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