Under Louisiana law, the city has 72 hours to produced a requested record or respond in writing why it cannot or will not.
The attorney advised Morris that the privilege can only be asserted by the client -- Morris and the city -- not by the attorney, so the mayor has the option of making it public.
The correspondence in question is Pucheu’s letter telling the mayor to proceed with producing evidence of asserted violations of law or professional canons or publicly retract them.
Only then, the letter says, will Pucheu discuss his future status with the mayor, who asked for his resignation in a letter intended, Morris says, to be confidential.
Morris wrote Pucheu on Wednesday noting he had on Monday asked his opinion after receiving public records requests from several parties for the letter.
Pucheu wrote Morris that the privilege can only be asserted by the client -- Morris and the city -- not by the attorney, so the mayor has the option of making it public.
He also asks in Wednesday’s correspondence that Pucheu give him any distinction between the attorney’s letter and the mayor’s earlier one, saying that the privilege Pucheu cited when asked by The Eunice News about the letter is the same privilege Morris intended for his letter.
Pucheu’s letter was copied to City Council members. It was publicized by The Eunice News, relying on confidential sources about its content, on Sunday.
Pucheu told the newspaper that he considered the letter a privileged communication and has had no comment regarding its contents.
Morris’ first letter was copied to Alderman at-large Jack Burson, the district attorney and the city judge, all of whom are attorneys.
It was then circulated to City Council members by Burson, who said he felt it incumbent to share it with those parties, and subsequently sent to the media by council members.
Morris asks Pucheu for written reasons about whether the attorney’s letter is confidential under the attorney-client privilege, and thus exempt from public record disclosure, and why Morris’ initial letter, not meant, he has said, for public dissemination, was not afforded the same status.
Requests for the letter have come from the Opelousas Daily World and two Lafayette television stations.