Jefferson Davis Hughes
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|Current Court Information:|
|Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal|
|Past position:||Louisiana 21st Judicial District Judge|
|Undergraduate:||Louisiana State University|
|Law School:||Louisiana State University Law School|
Jefferson Hughes is a judge in the Louisiana Court of Appeal First Circuit. He has been on the court since January 2005 and his current ten-year term ends on December 31, 2014. Hughes is the first Republican judge from Livingston Parish.
Hughes earned his BA in History, with honors, at LSU. He earned his JD at LSU Law School, and was published by Louisiana Law Review.
Hughes was in private practice for 12 years before first being elected in 1990. His first judicial position was in the 21st judicial district Court, where he served for fourteen years. Hughes joined the First Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005.
He challenged Democrat Catherine Kimball in the 2008 Louisiana Supreme Court elections for the Fifth District Seat on the seven-member Louisiana Supreme Court. Louisiana is one of eight states that elects its supreme court justices in partisan elections. On Saturday, October 4,2008, Kimball won the contest with 65% of the vote to 35% for Hughes. 
The Tulane Study
During an August 13, 2008 forum with the Baton Rouge Bar Association, each of the five Supreme Court candidates took a considerable amount of time debating the merits of a Tulane Law Review Study ("The Louisiana Supreme Court in Question: An Empirical and Statistical Study of the Effects of Campaign Money on the Judicial Function") that calls into question the role special interest monies play in Louisiana Supreme Court elections (and therefore rulings). "Referring to a review of the Tulane study by other researchers at LSU and the University of New Orleans, Kimball said the article is riddled with errors. She referred to it as 'garbage.'"
Other developments during the forum included candidate Jeff Hughes accusing sitting Justice Catherine Kimball, his opponent in the election, for being the court's most "activist judge." Justice Kimball responded by saying she was, "[V]ery proud of my, quote, ‘activist designation.'" Justice Kimball automatically became the court's Chief Justice, due to seniority. Justice Kimball's financial statements can be found here.
Tulane study still used against Kimball
Jeff Hughes, Justice Kimball's opponent for the Louisiana Supreme Court, stood by using a study published by the Tulane Law Review to attack Kimball's judicial record; the study claims she was more influenced by campaign contributions than any other member of the court. Hughes said that the subsequent apologies issued by the University wouldn't "change my campaign one iota....[The apology letter issued by the dean of Tulane University’s School of Law]... [is] blah, blah, blah to me.”
Hughes reported no financing, save a $206,000 loan he made to his campaign.
Court to keep alleged Katrina "mercy" killings sealed
Judge Jefferson Hughes was a part of a group of four 1st Circuit judges who voted to keep secret documents detailing the investigation into deaths at Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina. CNN and New Orleans' Times-Picayune advocated the public use of the files in order to determine whether then-Attorney General Charles Foti's view that a doctor and two nurses carried out mercy killings on four patients at Memorial in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In July 2006, Foti had Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses arrested and accused them of drugging to death four patients at Memorial. At the time of the alleged killings, the hospital was isolated and flooded.
It took nearly a year for a grand jury to not indict Dr. Pou; the charges against the nurses were dropped. After the criminal case ended, the news organizations filed public records requests to review investigative materials. Foti, who was defeated in his re-election bid last year, has supported release of the documents, which he says would vindicate his decision to arrest the doctor and nurses.
In September (2007), Donald Johnson, a state district judge in Baton Rouge, ordered the public release of nearly all the documents.
Attorneys for Memorial employees appealed Johnson's decision, saying it violated the privacy of people who willingly gave Foti's investigators interviews that they expected to remain confidential. State law shields from public view records pertaining to criminal litigation that is pending or "reasonably anticipated" until the case is over. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal decision, which is signed by four of the seven judges on the panel, said the files in the Memorial case do not become public -- even though there has been no investigative activity on the case since July -- because there is no statute of limitations on murder prosecutions.
Voting in the majority were 1st Circuit Judges Robert Downing, Jefferson Hughes, Randolph Parro and John Pettigrew. Judges John Guidry, Page McClendon and Jewel "Duke" Welch each dissented from the decision, providing separate reasons.
Hughes Votes to Keep Candidates Out of Race
Hughes Rules in Favor of Couple's Property Rights
Jefferson Hughes, along with fellow 1st Circuit Judge Robert Downing, ruled in favor of an elderly couple whose property had been confiscated by the state and sold at 2007 sheriff's tax sale. The property was on the auction block because of an unpaid property tax bill which totaled $1.63; the bill never reached the couple, and in the meantime was sold to a land company. Assessor Patricia Schwarz Core got the state Tax Commission to nullify the sale since the bill never reached them; however, after the initial sale, the property was resold and a notice of pending litigation was attached to the property, clouding ownership rights. The company retaliated, suing the Commission and the couple, but the state's decision was upheld first in May 2006 by state Judge Patricia Hedges, and then again in the 1st Court of Appeals by Hughes and Downing. "Hughes said it's 'uncontradicted' that the Atwoods 'did not receive notice of the tax sale due to an incorrect address, even though the correct address was readily ascertainable.'"
The two also said that "due process requires that the property owner be properly notified before property can be sold for taxes. If notice requirements are not followed, the sale is null and void. When a notice is returned unclaimed, the tax official cannot sit back and do nothing, but has a duty to notify the property owner. Failure to do so makes the tax sale null and void. [And a newspaper notice is] "not a reasonable means to send notice..."
Hughes Sides With Detained Drive-Thru Customer
In the decision he wrote for the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, Judge Hughes sided with plaintiff Alfred Kennedy III, a recent engineering graduate who was falsely detained on counterfeit charges at a Baton Rouge Jack in the Box restaurant.
Kennedy was arrested after he paid for meals for himself and four female students with a $100 Federal Reserve Note from 1974 — one his great-grandmother had mailed to him. Neither the workers at the restaurant on Dec. 7, 2001, nor the sheriff's deputies who answered their call recognized it as real money.
"'Old' currency is still legal tender of the United States," Judge Jefferson D. Hughes III wrote in the 3-0 decision for the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal. "Citizens should not be at risk for spending legal tender."
Hughes and his 1st Circuit cohorts ruled that District Judge William A. Morvant incorrectly dismissed the lawsuit which Kennedy brought against the chain in December 2003. No evidence was provided to show that the sheriffs who arrested Kennedy and the employees at Jack in the Box (who placed the call to police) had the knowledge needed to appropriately evaluate the bill.
- Louisiana Court of Appeal First Circuit website
- Baton Rouge Bar Association Supreme Court judicial forum.
- Hughes announces for Supreme Court
- Elderly couple’s lives in limbo over unpaid $1.63 tax bill
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weekly Citizen, "Hughes seeking seat on Louisiana Supreme Court," August 7, 2008
- ↑ The Advocate, "Kimball crushes competition for seat", October 5, 2008
- ↑ The Advocate, "Forum hears high court candidates", August 14,k 2008
- ↑ The Advocate, "Kimball, Hughes battle over report, meeting", September 17, 2008
- ↑ The Volokh Conspiracy "Law Review Editors, Take Note", September 23, 2008
- ↑ The Advocate, "Kimball crushes competition for seat", October 5, 2008
- ↑ Times Picayune, "House panel OKs bill sparked by Dr. Anna Pou case" May 14, 2008
- ↑ Times Picayune, "Sheriff's hopeful loses bid to limit the field," October 12, 2007
- ↑ Times Picayune, "Elderly couple's lives in limbo over unpaid $1.63 tax bill," July 14, 2007
- ↑ Note: original story from KATC.com, referenced in this blog. "Student Handcuffed for using old Money," April 3, 2005