Louisiana judicial news

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The Judicial Update

News about courts and judges in Louisiana


Jefferson Parish district judge Martha Sassone eeks into runoff with Ellen Kovach

(October 7, 2008) Run-down of Jefferson Parish judicial contests.

KTBS-3, "Former judge Walker gets 10-year sentence for corruption," October 2, 2008 (dead link)

Caddo District judge Michael Walker was sentenced to ten years in prison on October 2, 2008; Walker's imprisonment was the result of having received kickbacks in return for bond reductions that allowed drug defendants to get out of jail. He was convicted along with Caddo Juvenile Court Judge Vernon Claville.

Judge's commute tallies $21,000

(8/26/08) Criminal Court District Judge Arthur Hunter was reimbursed for over $21,000 worth of travel in the last 3 years.

Plaquemines judge pleads not guilty to theft, malfeasance charges

(8/12/08) State Judge William Roe of Plaquemines Parish pleaded not guilty to theft and malfeasance charges related to financial mismanagement in the 25th Judicial District Court.

Opponent quits; incumbent keeps court judgeship

(8/12/08) District Judge Don Johnson's opponent, Tarvald Smith, dropped out of the race. Johnson has no remaining opponent in the 2008 election.

Candidates make it official as signup for races begins; Four open judge posts on Tammany ballot

(8/10/08) State Judges Elaine DiMiceli, Patricia Hedges, Larry Green and Donald Fendlason are retiring this year. The addition of the two family court judgeships would mean that at least half of the judicial positions -- or six of the court's 12 judicial divisions -- likely would be contested in October.

Appellate judge seeks promotion

(6/24/08) Roland Belsome officially announces his candidacy for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Regional lawmakers back judicial split (dead link)

(6/2/08) Legislators from surrounding parishes have formed a coalition to divide the first district of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. House Bill 854 by Rep. Eddie Lambert, a Republican from Gonzales, is expected to receive its final hearing on the Senate floor this week, but a group of coastal lawmakers are expected to float an alternative that could give the proposal a new life. Lambert argues that the northerly parishes in the district—Ascension, Assumption, Iberville and Pointe Coupee—are unable to gain representation on the benches. Presently, the vote-heavy areas of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes have a hold over all four of the district's at-large judgeships.

Judicial investigator quits LA post

(5/29/08) Steven Scheckman, special counsel to the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana quit his position to join the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Testimony begins in judge's corruption case

(5/27/2008) Justice was for sale at the hands of Caddo District Judge Michael Walker and Juvenile Court Judge Vernon Claville.The two acted with a local bondsman and an informant to reduce bonds, set low bonds and lift probation holds as a part of a bribery scheme.

Open Debate on Ethics Bill

(5/22/08) Gov. Jindal has signed ethics legislation aimed at lawmakers, the governor and other state and local officials, and the missing piece according to Advocate Opinion Staff is ethics reform regarding judges. Rep. Eric Ponti, Baton Rouge, has proposed bills to address this issue, and the bills should be before the Judiciary Committee next week.

Subdistrict carved out to elect a minority judge

(5/22/2008) The Justice Department agreed to the creation of a sub-district within Jefferson Parish; the parish is predominantly black and is governed by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The NAACP sued the state in 2005, in order to get the majority-minority voting district.

Judicial hopefuls both are confident

(10/23/07) Rundown of judicial contestants for the 24th District; Republicans Donald Rowan and Deborah Villio faced off in the Nov. 17 runoff to replace Judge Charles Cusimano for the Division L seat.

Parish 2006 legal bills expected to be $850,000

(11/26/2006) Terrebonne Parish government requested $50,000 extra in legal fees for the 2006 fiscal year. At the time, it was estimated that $300,000 was spent on legal advice/research and $546,000 on litigation. The parish's seven attorneys charge $105 an hour for their work defending the parish in court, writing ordinances or researching legal questions.

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