Sherman Copelin posts bond, gets out of jail

Former La. Representative Sherman Copelin
Former La. Representative Sherman Copelin

Former La. Representative Sherman Copelin is out of jail after posting a $10,000 bond. Copelin turned himself into authorities Wednesday morning after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Copelin wasn't talking to the media Wednesday morning when he showed up with his attorneys at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Newell Normand commented, "Pursuant to a criminal investigation relative to a contractor fraud case, we were able to procure an arrest warrant for Sherman Copelin."

The former lawmaker for New Orleans faces two charges, theft and contractor fraud.

The arrest warrant came as a surprise to Copelin.  FOX 8 told him about the warrant when our news crew showed up at his home Tuesday night.

Copelin is accused of stiffing sub-contractors he hired to rebuild a West Bank school after Katrina. Copelin's own company was hired by the school, using FEMA money, as one of the main contractors on the job.  One of his sub-contractors, Lyle Doublet, says he's owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and he turned to the sheriff's office two years ago for help.

Sheriff Normand explains, "We have been very proactive in making sure and ensuring that the constituents of Jefferson Parish are not stiffed by anybody and that when complaints are made, that we are very proactive."

Normand couldn't say if more charges could be coming for Copelin as the investigation into this matter continues.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti says this could be a difficult case for prosecutors. "It's a tough case sometimes to prosecute because you have to show that this person had guilty intent to do something against another," Raspanti explained.

And Raspanti says he doesn't see Copelin spending a whole lot of time in jail. "Even if he's be convicted of this, I believe he'd be a first offender," Raspanti said.  "The odds of him being sentenced to jail time are very, very minimal."

Doublet says if Copelin is found guilty, he just wants to be re-paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars he says he's owed.