Hancock supervisor fined in La. shoplifting case

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hancock County Supervisor Jay Cuevas has been fined $500 by a Louisiana judge after his conviction for shoplifting.

Cuevas, who was re-elected this month, was convicted by a Louisiana judge last week on a charge of theft of goods under $300. Aside from the fine, he was ordered to pay court costs and render 10 hours of community service.

The misdemeanor charge against Cuevas stemmed from an incident at the Sureway Supermarket in Grand Isle, La., where Cuevas was vacationing July 20. Police said a video surveillance tape showed Cuevas transferring merchandise from a buggy into plastic bags and then leaving the store.

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Cuevas said Monday his attorney has advised that he appeal the case. He said he wants to put the issue behind him and his family.

“They didn’t prove anything,” he said of Grand Isle police and the local prosecutor. “I’m just worn out. I’m ready to put it behind me.”

Under Louisiana law, Cuevas’ arrest and conviction could disappear eventually. Louisiana law allows courts the discretion to suspend a misdemeanor sentence and place the defendant on probation.

If probation is successfully completed, the conviction may be set aside and prosecution dismissed. The effect is legally considered the same as an acquittal.

Cuevas said his 10 hours of public service likely will be spent working with youth or doing some other type of community work in Grand Isle.

“It was their word against mine,” he said, “but I don’t want to revisit this. This has been hard on my family.”