Apr 26, 2013 3:44 PM by Tonya LaCoste

Defense attorney asking court to throw out Seth Fontenot's indictment

The attorney for Seth Fontenot is asking a judge to throw out the first degree murder and two attempted first degree murder indictments against his client. According to court documents, Attorney Tommy Guilbeau says the grand jury, which indicted Fontenot on Feb. 21, was improperly empanelled. In Feb, Fontenot is accused of shooting to death 15-year-old Austin Rivault and shooting and injuring Rivault's two teenage friends.

According to court documents, Guilbeau said Magistrate Thomas Frederick should have read the five requirements separately to propspective jurors instead of reading them all at one time. When Guilbeau questioned Frederick about the process and asked whether the questions were posed in such a way to require each of the prospective grand jurors to raise their hand if the question pertained to them in any way, Frederick said "no," according to court documents.

In addition, according to court records, Frederick said he made no effort to find out if prospective jurors had ever been indicted for a felony or whether they had been convicted of a felony that had not been pardoned. A Third Circuit Court of Appeal opinion prohibits anyone with a felony indictment from serving serving on a jury.

Furthermore, Guilbeau argues Frederick was not authorized to empanel the grand jury stating Frederick does not have such power as a commissioner. Guilbeau claims in court documents empanelling a grand jury should be done only by an elected district judge.


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