Maegan Adkins-Barras, a 32-year-old mom of three from Louisiana whose husband Josh is in a coma, has her hands full. According to a GoFundMe page put up to help pay for Josh’s expensive treatment, he suffered a catastrophic brain injury, leaving him nonverbal, bedbound, and unable to obey directions. As a result, Maegan is effectively a single mother to their three kids. She’s also concerned about their education system.
Her worries were heightened when her son sent her a video from Acadiana High School in Lafayette, where he attends. Maegan “posted it to Facebook as apparent commentary to note what’s going on in the school,” Heavy wrote after viewing the film her kid shot. According to her friends, Maegan was worried about what occurred at school and questioned the authorities’ reaction.
In the video, two students are fighting at the high school about 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. One of the young guys appeared to knock his head on a concrete seat during the intense battle in which Maegan’s kid was not participating. Although upsetting, the video is not as explicit or inappropriate as many others published on social media every day.
When you view the video, you may assume the worst, but the youngster is said to be alright. He had symptoms of a suspected concussion, so paramedics were sent. He received medical attention and is now back at home, according to Scott Police Chief Chad Leger. Both boys were eventually charged with felonies, but Maegan was also accused.
The juvenile with the white shirt was charged with second-degree battery, while the other child was charged with fighting and disturbing the peace. They are both facing disciplinary action from the school system. While the penalties for the youngsters are obvious, many people believe those for Maegan are not.
When an Acadiana High School resource officer saw the video, he notified Maegan, according to The Acadiana Advocate. Despite the fact that she deleted the Facebook post, he detained her. She was arrested and brought into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center without bail after being charged with unauthorized posting of criminal action for notoriety and publicity, a felony in Louisiana.
Maegan’s arrest was publicized on Facebook, and her mugshot was uploaded. They warned that parents who learn of criminal activity on school campuses are encouraged to contact their local police department or school administration. Posting films and images of criminal activities on social media is against the law, adding that offenders might face a $500 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.
The Louisiana law that Maegan “broke” states that it is unlawful for an individual who is either a principal or an accessory to a crime to obtain an image of the commission of the crime using any camera, videotape, or any other image recording device and to transfer that image obtained during the commission of the crime by the use of a computer online service. But there’s one major issue.
According to Franz Borghardt, a criminal defense attorney who teaches criminal litigation at LSU Law School, while Maegan Adkins-Barras was freed after spending the night in prison, her civil rights may have been violated. According to Borghardt, the legislation Maegan allegedly violated applies only to an individual who is either a principal or an accessory to a crime, which presents a serious difficulty for police since Maegan was neither.
They’ll have to prove that she was a principal or accessory to the fight, that she was there and somehow instigated or promoted the fight, Borghardt added. They’ll [also] have to establish that she posted it on social media [for] notoriety or publicity, he continued. Just because one posts something on social media does not imply that one is looking for it. One may discuss one’s views and opinions. He believes they will have a serious constitutional problem, Borghardt said, adding that it smells of desperation.
The detention of Maegan also disturbs Scott Sternberg, an attorney who specializes in First Amendment and media law. She obtained the video lawfully, he said. This is something one does for the media all the time. One would almost certainly publish this footage if one received it. That worries him. This establishes an incredibly challenging precedent in which someone may be jailed for properly publishing a video.
He went on to say that he is “100% certain that the idea behind this law was not to present a First Amendment problem but rather to dissuade criminal action. Arresting someone who was not the main perpetrator or accessory to a crime does not dissuade me. It’s really questionable. Indeed, the rule was enacted in response to a growing trend in which individuals conduct and record crimes, then upload them on the internet in order to “gain notoriety.” That was not the case here.
A criminal defense lawyer, Kirk Piccione, cautioned that the Scott Police Department might be held accountable for wrongful arrest since there is no proof that Maegan Adkins-Barras was a principal or an accomplice, and no reasonable person could conclude that probable cause existed. However, Police Chief Leger said that he is not worried about a lawsuit.
“Anybody can sue anyone for anything these days,” Leger said. “Is it something that worries me?” No. Is this something that may happen? Yes.” But maybe he should be concerned. The Scott Police Department, according to widespread opinion, misapplied the law. Maegan’s arrest undermines community confidence and faith in local law enforcement, which any decent police chief would see as an issue.
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