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February 28, 2024

Jury Finds Slidell Man Guilty of Multiple Offenses Including Filing a False Lien Against a Law Enforcement Officer

Interim District Attorney Collin Sims reports that on February 26, 2024, a St. Tammany Parish jury found Ferdinand Branch, Jr., age 42 and of Slidell, guilty of Filing a false lien against a law enforcement officer, First-degree injuring of public records, and Attempted forgery. Assistant District Attorneys Christina Fisher and Casey Allen led the prosecution and Ad Hoc Judge Paul Bonin presided over the one-day trial.

Testimony at trial established that the defendant, who identifies as a sovereign citizen under the guise of a fictitious indigenous tribe, filed a lien against the personal property of Sergeant Grant Candies as retaliation for Sgt. Candies having previously arrested him on various charges. Sergeant Candies arrested the defendant in March of 2018 after a routine traffic stop revealed the defendant to be in illegal possession of a firearm and a large amount of marijuana. The defendant later pleaded guilty in that case.

After his arrest, the defendant mailed a letter to Candies’ personal residence threatening to file a lawsuit and lien against Candies. Around the same time, personal information and photographs of Candies, including his family, were posted to a Facebook page purported to be run by the defendant’s fictitious indigenous tribe. Sgt. Candies turned the information over to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office-FBI Joint Task Force, who determined that the defendant had forged documents using a fictitious indigenous name. At trial, the defendant argued that his own rights were violated by his initial arrest and that he had acted within his rights.

In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Christina Fisher told the jury that “the defendant believes that the laws of our state do not apply to him except when it conveniences him” and urged that they send him a message that he cannot use our laws or our court system to harass a deputy for doing his job.

The defendant is scheduled for sentencing on March 8, 2024. Lieutenant Johnny Morse with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office led the investigation in the case.

Coincidentally, Sgt. Candies was recently named 2023 St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy of the Year. The District Attorney’s Office congratulates Sgt. Candies on this well-deserved honor.

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