Veteran Judge Scott Crichton has decided to run for the Louisiana Supreme Court. The district 2 seat is presently held by Justice Jeff Victory, who was first elected on January 1, 1995. This judicial district encompasses Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Desoto, Red River, Natchitoches, Sabine, Vernon, Beaureguard and Allen parishes.
The election is next year, and its is for a 10 year term. Judge Crichton’s term as district judge also expires next year, so Crichton will either win or go home. Victory has experienced health issues in recent years, and it is not known if he will seek re-election.
Victory lost a legal battle in federal court to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court last fall, opposing the move by Justice Bernette Johnson to fill the seat of Justice Kimball who retired in January of this year. Johnson, who is black, was next in line on the seven member panel to be Chief Justice, based on seniority. Victory and the other (white) Supreme Court Judges challenged Johnson’s seniority because of her 1994 election to fill a special seat created to remedy racial disparities in Louisiana’s justice system.
Victory can expect little, if any, support from the black community because of this opposition to Johnson. Likewise many members of the Louisiana State Bar who resent the negative publicity this racially tinged controversy brought to the judiciary (and the entire Louisiana legal system) will likely oppose Victory. And to top it off, Victory has a low public profile, he has been rarely observed on the local scene since his election.
During his 23 years (plus) service on the First Judicial District bench, Crichton has served both in the civil and criminal divisions, presiding over hundreds of jury trials and well over a thousand hearing and bench trials. Prior to his election to the Caddo Bench, he served as an assistant district attorney and maintained a civil practice. While in the D.A.’s office, Crichton prosecuted several high profile murder cases.
Off the bench, Crichton has been very active in professional endeavors, including service on the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Louisiana Judicial College Board of Governors, and President of the Louisiana District Judge Association. Crichton is also a graduate of the inaugural class of the Louisiana Judicial Leadership Institute.
Crichton has created a Power Point teen consequences program, “Don’t Let This Be You”, which has been presented to more that 20,000 teenagers and parents at various local high schools, church’s and community groups. He has also developed a Power Point program, “Sexting, Texting and Beyond” for teenagers, parents and teachers on electronic media laws and related misbehavior. Additionally he has prepared a “No More Strikes” program for inmates in the Department of Corrections Reentry Program.
There’s little doubt that Crichton, who will be 58 the next year, will run an aggressive campaign. Although he is the incumbent, Victory is considered to be very vulnerable, and many wonder if he will want to engage in a contested election bid at age 68. This election is of major importance to the Louisiana legal system statewide, and not just to the District 2 voters.