CAMERON PARISH, La. (KPLC) - A laptop, some free meals, and a painting of a unicorn are some of the things given to an alleged victim or witnesses in a criminal case in Cameron Parish which have led to the District Attorney being recused.
Cameron District Attorney Jennifer Jones painted a picture of a unicorn for a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly the victim of sexual abuse.
“She showed the 10-year-old child a picture of a unicorn she had painted before and the child said she would like to have a painting like that," defense attorney Ginger Vidrine said. "And so Ms. Jones further explained she went home and it took her a day and she painted a painting of a unicorn, like the one she had showed the child, and then packaged it up and mailed it to her.”
Vidrine filed a motion to have Jones recused from prosecuting Eric Lemay, accused of aggravated crimes against nature.
Judge Penelope Richard granted the recusal on Monday. In her 11-page ruling, Richard gives other reasons for recusal, including the purchase of a laptop for the victim’s mother to replace one that was examined for evidence but damaged while being shipped back to the family in Oklahoma, dining with witnesses and discussing the case.
“When you take all of those things together, you start to see that the district attorney has developed a personal interest in this case that eliminates her ability to act in a way that’s fair and impartial, which is what she has to do,” Vidrine said.
If the ruling stands, the state attorney general will prosecute the case.
District Attorney Jennifer Jones released the following statement:
“The Rules of Professional Conduct provide that attorneys are forbidden from making extrajudicial statements regarding pending cases that the attorney knows will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing the trial of a matter. I attempted to obtain permission from the trial judge to respond to the interview given by Ms. Vidrine to KPLC but the Judge refused to discuss this. Therefore, I cannot comment, other than to say that I will always do my best to protect the rights of child victims of sexual abuse. I will appeal the Court’s decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal.”