It may not be a first, but it is an unusual but appreciated gesture by a retiring judge. Caddo District Judge Leon Emanuel has retired, effective December 31 of this year. He has published for several weeks in The Shreveport Sun a public announcement:
“As a public announcement, I want to thank the citizens of Caddo Parish for the opportunity to serve as your State District Court Judge for more than twenty-one (21) years.
I particularly want to thank the citizens for allowing me to represent your beliefs and ideals with professional competence in a fair and just manner. Most of all, I want to thank the citizens for allowing and trusting me to do what was right!
I realize that I cannot express my gratitude to all individuals and organizations by name whom has shared my judicial journey. However, I feel obligated to acknowledge my fellow Judges, administrative and support staff of the First Judicial District Court who worked with me; the staff of the Caddo Parish Clerk of Court who assisted me; members of area African-American Churches who prayed of me; and the many lawyers who professionally respected my judicial decisions and rulings.
As I conclude this chapter of my legal career in order to allow new chapters to be written, I want to thank the countless individuals who stopped me at church services, educations programs, grocery stores and other community venues throughout Caddo Parish to express their appreciation for my judicial efforts which helped them, their families, and loved ones. These expressions of appreciation often encouraged me.
Judge Leon Emanuel
He also has a billboard with a big “thank you” at the corner of Texas Street and Common.
Judge Leon, whose sister Judge Ramona Emanuel is also a Caddo Parish District Judge, was appointed to the Shreveport City Court in 1989. He was elected to the Caddo bench in 1992 and has served there since that time. His term ends December 31, 2014; an interim judge will be selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve out his term.
Judge Leon’s legal career included stints at both the Public Defenders and the District Attorney’s offices. He also served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Louisiana Legal Services, Inc. which serves poor and disadvantaged individuals in six parishes. He held this position for eight years before becoming a Shreveport City Court Judge.
Judge Leon has not, at this time, announced his plans for the future. It is rumored that he has been offered the position of Executive Director of Northwest Legal Services; this position has been vacant since the death of Alma Jones in the fall of this year. Judge Leon has expressed a strong desire to take a few months off, and it can be expected he will be back in the public arena by the spring. There’s little doubt that he will continue his career of public service, and that the public will be well served by him.