Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew.JPG

The woman who was depicted in a homemade sex video that was shared with people against her wishes says Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew did not consult her or obtain her consent before dismissing criminal charges against the West Monroe teacher who allegedly distributed the video.

Meanwhile, one of Tew’s office argued in court this week that it wants to seal the courtroom in the criminal case against the West Monroe police officer who made the sex video to prevent The Ouachita Citizen from continuing to cover the case.

Dennis Wall, who is on administrative leave from work with the West Monroe Police Department, was arrested last year for sending the sex video to Michelle Jones, a classroom teacher at West Monroe High School. Jones allegedly sent the sex video and/or images from the sex video to several people, including a high school student.

In spite of recent protests from the victim who was depicted in the sex video with Wall, Tew’s office is prosecuting the police officer for non-consensual disclosure of a private image. The offense is a felony under the state’s revenge porn laws. Instead of prosecuting Jones for the same offense, Tew’s office allowed her to pay a $650 fine and guaranteed her immunity from the charge.

Wall is widely known as the organizer of the annual Battle of the Badges event in Monroe.

Court documents in State of Louisiana v. Dennis Edward Wall reveal a complicated web of relationships surrounding the alleged distribution of the sex video. The sex video depicted sexual intercourse between Wall and his then-girlfriend in late 2017. The woman in the sex video filed a complaint with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office after she learned the video had been shared with several other people.

According to a sheriff’s investigator’s report, Wall sent two sex videos to Michelle Jones. Later, Michelle Jones allegedly sent the two sex videos to her ex-husband, John “Danny” Jones,” who was then dating the woman depicted in the sex videos, according to the investigator’s report.

The investigator also disclosed that Michelle Jones allegedly sent the sex videos to several employees at Danny Jones’ now-defunct business, United Home Care Inc., as well as Danny Jones’ son, who was then a student at West Monroe High School.

VICTIM QUESTIONS

DA’S DECISION

The victim filed an affidavit Monday morning stating that Tew’s office never consulted her about its decision to divert, or dismiss through diversion, Michelle Jones from prosecution for allegedly sharing the sex video.

The victim said she did not consent to the district attorney’s diversion agreement with Michelle Jones either.

Wall was not offered diversion. His case is currently on track to proceed to trial.

According to her affidavit, the victim wanted the charges against Wall to either be dismissed or diverted, as the charges were for Michelle Jones.

“She desires this outcome because it is just and right and the equivalence of the justice provided by the resolution of Michelle Dobbins Jones case with regard to the facts comprising the above entitled case considering Dennis Edward Wall has been twice arrested and remained on bond for over a year and half without incident and Michelle Jones was never arrested but was placed on diversion,” stated the victim’s Aug. 12 affidavit.

The victim said she did not wish for the case to proceed to trial.

“She believes Michelle Dobbins Jones was the most culpable party but received almost no punishment and she does not and did not consent nor was consulted about the diversion agreement executed between Michelle Dobbins Jones and the District Attorney,” stated the victim’s affidavit.

The victim’s claim that she did not consent nor was consulted about the district attorney’s diversion agreement with Michelle Jones raised a red flag, because the state Constitution and state law require that a victim be consulted about the disposition of a criminal case.

When asked how his office’s diversion agreement with Michelle Jones squared with the state’s victims’ rights law, Tew said, “I don’t know if she was or she wasn’t,” referring to whether she was contacted or notified.

Tew referred to the assistant district attorneys prosecuting Wall: Geary Aycock and Sean Southern.

“All I can say is that she came to us and said, ‘I’m upset. I don’t want him to get away with it,’” said Tew during a telephone interview Tuesday. “And that was it. Geary Aycock and Sean have handled it the whole time. I talked to her yesterday, and I think she’s a typical victim. She’s traumatized, and we’re sympathetic with her.”

Monroe attorney Devin Jones, who is representing Wall, filed the victim’s affidavit into the court record Monday morning. During a court hearing later that morning, Devin Jones revealed to the court and the district attorney’s office of the affidavit’s existence. At that time, Southern objected to the affidavit, repeatedly.

Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Larry Jefferson, who presided over the State v. Wall hearing, questioned the reasons for the district attorney’s objection to the affidavit.

“This doesn’t do anything,” said Southern, of the affidavit. “It’s not evidence. It’s not a plea.”

After Devin Jones revealed the victim did not want charges pursued against Wall, he asked the district attorney to state, on the record, what charges it wanted Wall to plead guilty to.

According to Southern, Aycock sought Wall’s conviction either through a trial or through a plea deal. Southern said Aycock’s plea agreement would allow Wall to plead guilty to harassment via telephone communications, which is a misdemeanor.

Aycock is Tew’s chief felony prosecutor.

JUDGE QUESTIONS

DA’S MOTION TO SEAL

The court hearing in State v. Wall on Monday began with consideration of the district attorney’s motion to seal.

As previously reported by The Ouachita Citizen, the district attorney’s motion to seal was itself sealed and unavailable for the public to view, though the court had not ordered the document to be sealed. According to Wall’s recent motion to strike, the motion to seal also contained a motion in limine, though its presence in the court record was uncertain.

When the court hearing began, Jefferson held up a taped envelope marked, “Sealed,” and questioned the reasons for sealing the document.

Southern could not explain why the district attorney’s motion to seal was sealed.

“I never asked for that,” Southern said. “I’m not sure why that’s sealed.”

Jefferson opened the envelope and noted that no proposed court order was attached to the district attorney’s motion. Jefferson told Southern the motion to seal should not be sealed.

“I haven’t seen that,” said Jefferson, referring to the two motions supposedly filed by the district attorney. “The court’s not reviewed that either.”

According to Southern, the district attorney’s office wanted to prevent “certain prejudicial...information” from being made public because The Ouachita Citizen might report on it. To support his point, Southern referred to three news reports by The Ouachita Citizen on State v. Wall and offered printed copies of the newspaper’s reports to Jefferson so the judge could read them.

At first, Southern argued a closed courtroom could prevent the introduction of any “unsubstantiated gossip that might be brought out against Brandi Jones (the victim).”

Later, as in a previous court hearing in State v. Wall, Southern revealed the district attorney’s office sought to stem the flow of information concerning Michelle Jones, the woman who allegedly distributed the sex video and provoked the victim’s complaint to authorities.

After further inquiries from the court, Southern specified the district attorney’s goal: a closed courtroom.

“Your basis is that The Ouachita Citizen keeps writing articles?” Jefferson said.

Southern confirmed Jefferson’s assessment and said any further news reports might result in a tainted jury pool.

Jefferson disagreed. “A large segment of the community doesn’t read The Citizen,” he said. “You want me to read these articles and determine the impact?”

Devin Jones objected to the district attorney’s arguments, because the district attorney had failed to provide any legal grounds to justify sealing the courtroom.

“The state has failed to state any legal grounds for closing the court,” Devin Jones said.

In defense of his arguments, Southern said, “I’m saying The Ouachita Citizen is interested in this case.”

“There are other articles about other cases that have received greater coverage that the DA has not sought to close the courtroom,” said Devin Jones, in reply.

When the hearing concluded, Jefferson was asked by the parties to review the evidence in the case as well as the newspaper’s articles as part of an in camera inspection, which would include review of the homemade sex video.

“I’ll know it when I see it?” said Jefferson, with a grin.

(3) comments

Dennis1961

Is this woman still employed as a teacher at WMHS after sending “ objectionable videos” to a student??? Wow!!!


Pmw

So the victim wants to dismiss charges against her ex boyfriend the west Monroe’s officer who was the first one to send the video but not against the woman who then sent it out to other people. She is so traumatized .,..but only wants revenge against one of the parties that both did the same thing.. if It is dropped for him that’s some crooked sh*’t but that office is full of that .


Bob

@Pmw







Why do you think the victim wants charges against Mr. Wall dropped? It sounds like she wants Ms. Jones to be arrested, too.







From the article, "Wall...was arrested last year...Wall was not offered diversion. His case is currently on track to proceed to trial."


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