DA candidate in Louisiana jailed for contempt

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BENTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The woman running against incumbent Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart was jailed Wednesday after a Bossier judge found her in contempt of court.

Patricia Gilley, an attorney, was found guilty of contempt after she asked that the sentence of one of her clients be reconsidered, charging prosecutorial misconduct.

The incident stemmed from the January 2020 guilty plea of her client, Keuntrell Knight, who originally was charged with second-degree murder in the July 2017 shooting death of a 5-year-old-child and attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of the child’s father. Knight ultimately pleaded guilty in January to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

After several delays in sentencing due to COVID-19 restrictions, Judge Parker Self sentenced Knight on June 25 to 35 years at hard labor in the child’s death and 12 years in the shooting of his father.

Nearly a month later, on July 22, Gilley filed a 45-page motion asking that Knight’s sentence be reconsidered, alleging prosecutorial misconduct. Self denied that motion on July 31.

The District Attorney’s Office followed up by filing a rule asking the judge to hold Gilley in contempt of court and that hearing was held on Wednesday.

Although Self was originally slated to hear the case, he voluntarily recused himself upon Gilley’s request. Judge Michael Craig heard the case instead and ruled Gilley in contempt.

Gilley was fined $100, the maximum allowed, but she said she was running for office and didn’t have that kind of money. The alternative sentence is 24 hours in jail, so she opted to go to jail rather than pay the fine.

Patricia “Pat” Gilley is on the ballot in the November election, challenging incumbent Caddo District Attorney James Stewart. Both are Democrats.

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