DeQuince Erin Brown is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help with legal fees after an Evangeline Parish, La., sheriff’s officer killed her boyfriend and charged her with attempted murder.
Brown, 21, was out with DeJuan Guillory, frog hunting on an ATV, when they were stopped by Deputy Paul Holden LaFleur. After a brief argument, LaFleur allegedly shot Guillory in the back three times as he lay on the ground begging for his life.
LaFleur’s version of the story was that Guillory punched him, almost knocking him out after arguing about his license. Then, according to LaFleur, Brown jumped on the officer, bit him and said, “Let’s kill him.” That’s when, he says, he shot Guillory.
After the incident, Brown was arrested when LaFleur accused the 115-pound, unarmed woman of jumping on a man nearly twice her size while he had a gun in his hand. She was charged with first-degree attempted murder, booked in the Evangeline Parish Jail and given a $75,000 bond. Now, not only was Brown the only eyewitness to a police killing, but she is also charged with planning to kill that police officer.
To fight for justice for both her and the late Guillory, Brown has enlisted the help of CrowdJustice, the first platform for donation-based litigation crowdfunding. The site has hosted other campaigns, such as Aziz vs. Trump, the first federal litigation against the Trump administration’s travel ban; and a prominent Virginia case against gerrymandering.
Brown told her supporters: “It is because of you that people now know what is going on in our hometowns. Last but not least, I have to thank my lawyers for being the best they can be with this situation. They have worked hard from the start!”
It is known by lawyers, judges and everyone in the legal profession that money is the biggest barrier to justice in America’s criminal-justice system. In his book The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory, federal appeals court judge Richard Posner wrote:“I can confirm from my own experience as a judge that indigent defendants are generally rather poorly represented.” A good attorney with the resources to present a good legal defense is sometimes the difference between life and death.
How important is it? Last week, police announced that tennis star Venus Williams was responsible for killing a man in a fatal car crash. But Williams has enough money to hire a lawyer who probably hired investigators to dig through thousands of hours of street-camera footage until they found video that proved she was not at fault.
In Brown’s case, police are still conducting an investigation that includes an autopsy, ballistics report and a review of the dashcam footage. Brown is free on bail, and LaFleur has not been charged with a crime.
Visit the DeQuince Brown Freedom Fund.