Judge Who Had Process Server Arrested Brought Up On Charges

Judge Layne Walker surrenders

Mug Shot of Judge Walker
Judge Layne Walker surrenders following indictment.

KFDM obtains mugshots of former judge, two Sheriff’s Office employees and a former employee, following their indictments by a grand jury overseen by a special prosecutor.

Layne Walker, Tim Smith, Chad Kolander, Steven Broussard are all the men arrested.

Walker was indicted for Abuse of Official Capacity, a State Jail Felony. The indictment alleges he used a computer, printer and several employees for personal, non-governmental services.

The three other people were indicted on charges linked to the case of a process server who went into Walker’s courtroom in 2013 and tried to serve him with a lawsuit. The process server had a pen camera that recorded what transpired. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate and that led to indictments against the three others for Tampering With Physical Evidence and Tampering With a Governmental Record. Watch KFDM News for more on the investigation and reaction.

KFDM was at the Jefferson County Jail when former judge Layne Walker, 51, turned himself and was released on a personal recognizance bond following his indictment on a charge of Abuse of Official Capacity. The charge is a State Jail Felony. We’ve also learned Tim Smith, 56, Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, has also surrendered and was released on a personal recognizance bond.

He was indicted for Tampering With Physical Evidence, a Third Degree Felony, and Tampering With Government Records, a State Jail Felony.

Sgt. Chad Kolander, 46, with the Sheriff’s Office, has also surrendered and was released on a personal recognizance bond for same charges. A former S.O. employee, Steven Broussard, 60, also surrendered and was released on the same charges.


EXCLUSIVE: process server at center of indictments breaks silence

BEAUMONT – By Brandi Smith 12 News

Image of process server Steve Hartman
“I was very excited that they brought in a special prosecutor to look into charges against the people who had to do with this incident,” said Hartman.

“Shocked” is how Steve Hartman describes his reaction to news that a grand jury indicted two former and two current Jefferson County employees on charges stemming from his arrest more than three years ago.

“I was very excited that they brought in a special prosecutor to look into charges against the people who had to do with this incident,” said Hartman.

On May 28, 2013, Hartman, a process server, appeared in Judge Layne Walker’s courtroom to serve the judge a lawsuit.

“I approach everybody the same way every time,” Hartman said. “I’m as nice as I can be.”

However, when he told a bailiff why he was there, another deputy approached him and told him, “You’re going out or you’re going under arrest.”

The exchange was caught on video thanks to a pen camera Hartman had in his pocket. That video helped exonerate Hartman after he was charged with hindering a proceeding by disorderly conduct.

“If he hadn’t had that recorder on him, he’d have a criminal record today,” said John S. Morgan, Hartman’s attorney. “He would have lost all of his licenses, all that he’d worked for his whole life. He wouldn’t be able to provide for his family in his chosen career. He would have lost everything. And he didn’t do anything wrong.”

Hartman says, as grateful as he is that someone is being held accountable, he is upset that the four people arrested hardly spent any time in the jail being processed Thursday morning.

“I don’t think it’s fair that they got to just kind of walk through. You know, show up and say ‘Hey, I’m here. Let’s do this,'” said Hartman.

As the criminal case plays out, Hartman and Morgan are also keeping tabs on the civil suit they filed against more than two dozen people, including Judge Layne Walker, Sheriff Mitch Woods, former Sgt. Steven Broussard and Tim Smith.