Louisiana family motions a district court judge to re-open their civil lawsuit against St. Tammany Parish sheriff for failure to return their shotgun, bible, and other religious items.
“By dismissing the case, Judge Sarah S. Vance erred on two counts: First for not considering the constitutional amendment passed by the citizens of Louisiana in November 2012 that made the right to bear arms a fundamental right requiring strict scrutiny by any court that would deprive a citizen of that right; and secondly, new and pertinent information has surfaced,” said Daniel G. Abel, counsel for the Manton family.
The Mantons have tried but failed on numerous occasions to retrieve their private property from St. Tammany Sheriff Rodney “Jack” Strain, he said.
Abel said the ordeal should be over. “After a 120-day incarceration, Manton was released from jail in April 2008, and all charges were dropped.”
Thereafter, he said Strain refused to release items illegally seized from Manton’s home which included a Bible, rosary beads and other religious items belonging to the Manton family and a Remington 870 Youth Model 20-gauge shotgun that was a gift to their late son.
“Our late son’s shotgun is of huge sentimental value for my wife and me,” said Manton.
Counsel for the Sheriff’s office, Charles M. “Chuck” Hughes Jr. previously confirmed with Human Events that the shotgun was in their possession and available to Manton. Hughes also confirmed the model and serial number of the shotgun.
However, Norman J. Manton Jr., said his most recent attempt to retrieve his property was unsuccessful. “I was told I could not have it.”
Abel said events have turned against the parish.
In addition to the pro-Second Amendment referendum supported overwhelmingly by the people, a federal grand jury issued a 60-count indictment last week implicating former Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish Deputy Sheriff Mark Hebert.
“Hebert has been a narcotics agent with the St. Tammany Sheriff prior to going to Jefferson Parish,” he said.
According to a press release released by the Department of Justice Hebert was indicted for civil rights violations, bank fraud, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft and obstruction of justice violations.
In the indictment the U.S. Attorney said: As part of the effort to cover-up the scheme, prosecutors allege Herbert with specific intent did kill or participate in conduct that caused the death of Albert Bloch.
Abel said, “Strain attempted to pin some of these crimes on Manton.”
Manton was arrested in January 2008 for crimes Hebert allegedly committed, the civil rights attorney said.
“The arrest was an attempted cover-up for Hebert,” he said.
Manton said the Justice Department investigation vindicated him.
“The federal investigation proves that I did not do it,” he said.
“I was used as a pawn by Sheriff Strain,” he said.
Strain used him as a cover-up to protect Hebert, he said.
“If Hebert talks, everyone at the sheriff’s office goes to jail,” he said.
“They stole money, cars, guns that they either kept or quietly sold to someone on the street,” he said. Manton said that he was targeted even though he was innocent of the charges filed, and even though the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s office refused to arrest him.
Manton’s wife Sherrie Buras-Manton and the Rindge, N.H.-based Independent Firearm Owners Association (IFOA) are plaintiffs in the matter against Strain and his subordinates.
According to the complaint, Buras-Manton and IFOA asked the court to order the return of the Manton’s Holy Bible, Missal, and other religious items; and enforce the Jan. 3 2006 Order against Strain and all persons in his department, prohibiting their confiscation of firearms.
The complaint alleges violations of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and of the Louisiana Constitution, Article 1: Sections 8 and 11.
“The federal judge is a good judge, but now things are different,” said Richard Feldman president of IFOA and co-counsel in Manton’s action against Strain.
“Not giving up the shotgun to Manton makes Strain look guilty,” he said.
The sheriff’s office never had lawful right to take private property from the Manton home, he said.
“It is fraud upon fraud,” he said.
“Fraud vitiates everything it touches,” said the former police officer and author of Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.
“The actions that have come to light at St. Tammany sheriff’s office probably would not be tolerated in the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Corruption is not just in St. Tammany or Orleans Parish, corruption exists across the state, he said. “Six Louisiana sheriffs have gone to jail in the last five years.”
One of the reasons the Framers crafted the Second Amendment was to enable the citizens to protect themselves during natural disasters or a complete breakdown of civil government, he said. “Owning guns makes the law enforceable, by the people, over their government, should ‘in the course of human events it becomes necessary.”