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Poland woman will fight perjury charges in Okla. [View All]

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Okiegal123 Donating Member (35 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-20-07 04:29 PM
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Poland woman will fight perjury charges in Okla.
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Article published May 10, 2007
Poland woman will fight perjury charges in Okla.
By Jodi Belgard
(318) 487-6344
LaTisha White is familiar with sheriff's deputies.
The 32-year-old Poland resident and paralegal sees them every day.

But Wednesday, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputy that entered her office wasn't there for routine paperwork.

He was there for her.

Listed as felon
White is registered on the FBI's National Crime Information Center's database as a wanted felon on perjury charges for an incident that occurred in Carter County, Okla., in September 2006. This information is sent to all law enforcement agents. It also triggers a red flag when the listed person's driver's license or state identification card is run.
That means a routine traffic stop could land White in jail awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, where the maximum sentence for felony perjury is five years in a state penitentiary.

Rapides Parish District Attorney James "Jam" Downs said the deputy used "good sense" and did not arrest White.

Nature of charges
"You always have to look at the nature of the charges -- how high is your alert?," Down said.
The felony perjury charges were brought against White after she filed a complaint to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol regarding trooper Rocky Northcutt after a routine traffic stop.

Northcutt is a 1998 recipient of the State of Oklahoma Trooper of the Year award. He also earned a heroism award for a 1997 incident that left him wounded and one man dead.

White said Northcutt, after running her off the road in pursuit of her sister Stormy Knight's vehicle, used foul language, including "the F word," in front of her mother and two daughters who were 10 and 13 at the time.

"I called and spoke to his (Northcutt's) supervisor, and he told me to fill out a form, have it notarized, and sent it back. I did exactly what they told me to do," White said, adding that she didn't think the issue would be pressed any further.

But Carter County District Attorney Craig Ladd charged White after reviewing Northcutt's patrol tape.

Ladd admits White is "probably the only" individual to be prosecuted for felony perjury after making a civil complaint.

But, based on the tape, Ladd felt he had no other option.

'Crystal clear'
"It was crystal clear," Ladd said. "We realized what she claimed happened did not happen."
White's attorney, Miles Johnson, also reviewed the tape.

"They sent me two tapes, which were obviously redacted," Johnson said.

Ladd did not comment on the length of the tapes.

Ladd initially offered White a deferred prosecution agreement, which carried the penalty of a $520 fine, 100 hours of community service and a letter of apology to Northcutt -- an agreement Johnson said Ladd made sound like a "favor."

Johnson believes Ladd abused his discretion with his decision to prosecute White.

"The law's right, but the way he's applying it is wrong," Johnson said. "This is absolutely absurd and so far out of the ethical bounds it's ridiculous. (White) is a mother of two who works hard -- with no prior convictions."

And White continues to stand by her statement.

"I will forever believe that this man said this in front of myself, my children and my mother," White said. "The truth is the truth, and you're not supposed to be scared to tell the truth."


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