Skipper, Maxwell back in court

Published 12:16 am Friday, July 20, 2007

VIDALIA — An inmate who alleged abuse charges against the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office was back in court Thursday.

James Skipper filed a civil suit against Sheriff Randy Maxwell in October 2006 alleging Maxwell sanctioned abuse and a clandestine transfer to another prison against him.

Maxwell dismissed the claims, calling Skipper a “jail-house lawyer” whose aim was to tie up the court system with fabrications.

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Skipper filed a motion for the contempt review in June after Maxwell allegedly did not provide him with requested documents in a timely manner.

Judge Kathy Johnson ruled Maxwell not in contempt after it was revealed he provided the information requested by James Skipper.

The information Skipper had filed for was contracts detailing the sheriff’s day-to-day dealings with the correctional facilities, for copies of department of corrections rules and regulations and for his medical records.

Skipper stated he had received the information from the sheriff and the department of corrections, but the medical records he was given were formal reviews, and he wanted to see the notes doctors and nurses took at the time of his treatment for the alleged abuse.

Skipper also wanted access to personnel records of River Correctional Facility Assistant Warden Pat Smith.

Skipper plans to call Smith as a witness, and he doesn’t believe she has any history of inmate abuse in her record, but he wants to be sure he knows everything, he said.

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Attorney Tim Richardson objected to the motion, saying he had never seen a law where a background check was needed for a witness.

Johnson agreed to allow Skipper to research the matter, and if he could find a law that agreed with his position, she would allow Richardson a chance for rebuttal before making a decision.

Johnson also told Skipper he was to have no personal contact with Maxwell.

Skipper reportedly wrote Maxwell a personal letter earlier this month stating he would drop the suit if Maxwell would help him get his sentence — 25 years for a drug-related charge — reduced.

Skipper also made a motion to compel Maxwell to submit to a polygraph test.

The case will continue in September.