“Court will grant the defense’s continuance because discovery is not complete.”
Dennis Perkins was in court today appearing before Judge Erika Sledge in Livingston Parish.
Perkins was arrested on Oct. 23, 2019 along with his then wife Cynthia Perkins.
Perkins was a high-ranking deputy with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office at the time of his arrest and was terminated immediately. Perkins entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment on Dec. 19. A grand jury did indict Perkins on 78 felonies on Dec. 17.
Dennis & Cynthia Perkins are accused of child rape, producing child pornography, and participating in feeding pastries laced with semen to school children. Dennis is also accused of sexual abuse of an animal.
The trial is set to begin Oct. 11, 2022, that’s after the previous trial date was continued.
Now, Dennis Perkins’ lawyer Jarrett Ambeau is asking for a continuance saying a photo containing child pornography was turned over in the discovery from the Attorney General’s Office. Due to that, notes and preparation for the Perkins case were deleted.
Ambeau said the court ordered the notes had to be confidential so he could not back it up to another computer or hard drive.
“In the beginning of August, we noticed what we believed to be child pornography. I returned the hard drive to the AG’s office and informed Mr. Milligan of what had occurred. We re-formed the computer in my office and lost all the notes of our case because we were told by court to keep confidential so I couldn’t back up the notes and items to another hard drive. My actions to delete all that was for my well-being to protect myself. Can we ask the AG’s office moving forward to alert us if there’s child pornography. I don’t believe the state did this on purpose,” said Ambeau.
“This is an extraordinary case,” said AG Office’s Lead Prosecutor Barry Milligan. “I believe we can have everything double checked and over to the defense by Monday.”
“We did not and are not able to identify the image we thought was child pornography,” said Ambeau. “We’re asking for a continuance based on receiving this massive amount of photographs and basically having to start over.”
“In my opinion, we cannot start a trial where discovery has not been completed,” said Judge Sledge. “That’s not he posture where any trial should begin, but I think that going forward, we have a better plan in place for the event if this were to happen again. I believe this was not the intention of the state to do this. I don’t think anyone believes that. I want to go on the record saying it’s been turned over and dealt with properly. The matter of fact is we have lost that preparation of time in preparation of this trial.”
It’s why the new trial date was set to Jan. 9, 2023.
There are nearly 700,000-800,000 images both sets of attorneys are going through.
“It took the course of the entire summer for the AG’s office, I don’t think it’s feasible to say if it’s turned over by Tuesday that we can start this trial in October. We would have been but with this picture turning up, we can’t,” said Judge Sledge. “Court will grant the defense’s continuance because discovery is not complete.”
“What I’m going to require of the state is to certify to their best knowledge and belief, they’re not turning over any contraband. If Mr. Ambeau in viewing this evidence feels is contraband it will be the court’s order that he submit that to myself and I will make the determination if it’s contraband. If it’s deemed contraband, then Mr. Ambeau can delete & destroy that image itself,” said Judge Sledge.