LaPlace man convicted of disrupting court

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2012



LAPLACE – A LaPlace man who attempted to enter the Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse in New Orleans with bullets he claimed were for U.S. Attorney Jim Letten was convicted Monday of disrupting the performance of official duties by government employees.

Carlos Romious, 47, was convicted at trial before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Knowles and sentenced to 15 days with credit for time served. He was released shortly after trial.

According to testimony, Romious had previously appeared at the federal courthouse on Dec. 19, 2011, and demanded to speak with a United States Magistrate Judge. After initially refusing to leave, he eventually left the building.

As a result of that incident, the United States Marshals Service looked into his background. It was determined that Romious was a potential threat to courthouse occupants, and an alert notice was issued to law enforcement agencies.

It was specifically noted that Romious had been arrested numerous times in Kenner and is awaiting charges of beating two jailers with the Kenner Police Department. Romious had also been previously convicted of fighting with Deputy United States Marshals in Kansas and as a result was later disbarred by the state of Kansas, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On Jan. 20, Romious attempted to enter the court building at 9:15 a.m. but was denied entry. High levels of security personnel, including U.S. Marshals, FBI agents, State Police, New Orleans Police Officers and members of the Federal Protective Service, were present at the building for an invite-only investiture ceremony for a new federal judge. It was also the day of the national “Occupy the Courts” protests. The agencies were on hand to coordinate security to ensure both events proceeded without incident.

Romious attempted to enter the courthouse but was stopped when a court security officer noticed three 9mm bullets in a bag he was carrying, according to the release. When Romious was questioned, he stated that the bullets “were for Jim Letten.”

His statement conflicted with his earlier story that he needed to file paperwork. He also gave conflicting stories about how he arrived at the courthouse that day. As a result, at least 10 officers from the respective agencies were assigned to review videotape and search bushes and nearby vehicles for weapons. An explosives detection canine from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms was also brought in to see if there were any ammunition, guns or explosives located within the complex.

The search took place as agents were preparing for possible protestors as well as the investiture ceremony.  No weapons were ultimately found, and Romious was later arrested.

The U.S. Marshals Service and agents of the Federal Protective Service investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jon Maestri handled the prosecution.