Caddo Judicial Races – This Year and Next

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Shreveport Attorney John Settle
by John Settle

If a Shreveport attorney ever wanted to wear a black robe, this fall and next provide many seats in many courts to consider. With the exception of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the term of every elected judicial seat in Caddo Parish will be up for re-election.

Judicial VacancyCurrently an election to fill the vacancy on the Caddo bench created by the election of Judge Jeannette Garrett to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is set for October 19 of this year. Qualifying for this seat is August 14-16. To date, Caddo Assistant D.A. Brady O’ Callaghan and Bossier Indigent Defender Attorney Mike Miller have announced their candidacies. (Miller lives in Shreveport.) It is possible, but not likely, that this race may have more than these two candidates.

judicialEthicsThe term of Second Circuit Judge James Stewart ends
in 2014. He is expected to run for re-election without opposition. There has been some water cooler talk that Stewart may retire and move to the Caddo District Attorney office; Stewart is a former Caddo First Assistant District Attorney.

The terms of all of the First Judicial District Judges (Caddo Parish) are up for re-election in 2014, including the victor in the October 2013 judicial election. It is expected that all the sitting judges will seek re-election, with the exception of Judge Scott Crichton and possibly Judge Leon Emanuel. Crichton has announced his candidacy for the Louisiana Supreme Court seat currently held by Judge Jeff Victory; Victory has decided to not seek re-election. Judge Emanuel has stated he will announce by the end of this year if he will retire or seek another term on the Caddo bench.

All Caddo judges
All Caddo judges

In recent history, no incumbent Caddo District Judge has been opposed when seeking re-election; this pattern is not likely to change in 2014. Jason Waltman has stated he will run for Crichton’s seat, and rumor has it that other possible candidates are Erin Leigh Waddell (the daughter of Caddo Chief Judge Bobby Waddell) and/or Chris Victory (the son of Supreme Court Judge Jeff Victory).

If Judge Leon does not run, the race in this minority district will be wide open. Names that have been mentioned include Karelia Stewart (daughter of Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Carl Stewart), Ron Stamps, and Alex Washington. It is not expected that Caddo Juvenile Judges David Matlock, Paul Young and Shonda Stone will have any opposition to re-election in 2014; all are expected to seek re-election.

shreveportIn Shreveport City Court, there will be at least one open seat; Judge Bill Kelley has decided to retire. (Rumor has it that he will then become the Court Administrator.) Caddo Assistant D.A. Brian Barber is frequently named as a candidate for Kelley’s seat; undoubtedly there will be several attorneys in this race.

It is doubtful that Judge Lee Irvin or Judge Sheeva Sims will draw any oppositions to re-election. Judge Pam Lattier may face opposition, and if she does, her opponent will probably draw support from the attorneys who practice in that Court. Rumors about who run for what judgeships will undoubtedly continue until qualifying ends both this year and next. Admittedly, the general public usually does not get too excited about judicial races, although the quality of judges affects all citizens who, in one way or the other, encounter the legal system. Upcoming judicial races on the east side of the Red River will be reviewed in a future column.

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