Stephan M. Bergeron, 22, is charged with one count of aggravated rape and three counts of forcible rape. The alleged victim is the same person in each count.
An order by 27th Judicial District Court judges keeps details of Bergeron’s case, and all other sex-crime cases, under seal, but minute records and non-attribution conversations reveal the following:
Bergeron’s case was recently shifted from Judge Ellis Daigle’s court to Judge James Doherty, Jr. because as jury selection approached it was pointed out a potential conflict existed because some parties to the case are Facebook “friends.”
Sources say one of the parties was Daigle. The second could not be confirmed by separate independent sources.
How long the “Friend” relationship has existed could not be determined. Daigle was not contacted because judges do not discuss specific cases.
Daigle had had the case since August 2009.
Veteran courthouse sources could not recall a social networking relationship creating a judicial issue before in the parish.
Meanwhile, Bergeron has been re-set for appearances in Doherty’s court: March 21, pre-trial motions, May 1 docket soundings and May 8 jury selection.
The March court appearance is almost three years to the day after the last allegation of rape made by a St. Landry Grand Jury in its indictment.
Starts and stops in the case are abundant, not all that out of the ordinary in this jurisdiction, particularly in a major offense case such as this.
Aggravated rape carries a mandatory life sentence on conviction; forcible rape a maximum of 40 years, without at least two years served before release eligibility.
Bergeron was indicted in December 2009.
At his January 2010 arraignment, Shepton Hunter was relieved as his court-appointed lawyer and Frank Olivier appointed. Bergeron pleaded not guilty and trial jury selection was set for June 2, 2010.
On Feb. 3, Olivier petitioned for a bond hearing.
On Feb. 11, bond was set at $15,000 on each forcible rape count and $25,000 on the aggravated charge.
A condition of the bond was that Bergeron live with his mother.
On Feb. 22, Daigle amended the bond provision, ordering that the accused wear an ankle bracelet allowing the judicial system to track his whereabouts.
Records of any motions or testimony regarding what prompted the bracelet provision are closed to public view.
That is also the case of joint stipulations between the state and the defense in the case in March and April 2010. Those stipulations could have been in respect to Bergeron’s bail provisions, or something else entirely.
It cannot be determined because what the parties agreed to and/or asked the court to do is locked behind the judicial seal.
On June 1, 2010 Bergeron’s jury selection was re-set for October, 2010.
On Oct. 5, it was re-set for Feb. 2, 2011.
On Feb. 2, it was re-set for June 14, 2011.
On June 1, it was continued to Oct. 14, 2011.
On Oct. 11, it was rescheduled for Feb. 6, 2012.
Any notifications to Bergeron’s alleged victim in the case - either regarding bond provisions, hearing dates or jury selection and trial - are also shielded from view.