The Latest Scuttlebutt on Caddo Judicial Races

Shreveport Attorney John Settle
by John Settle

In politics, a candidate is “potential” until qualifying ends, – – which for judicial races this year will be August 22nd. Names of judge wantabees frequently pop up and then like last week’s birthday balloon, they fizzle out.

Don Weir, Jr. is a classic example. Since last fall he was an “announced” candidate to run for Judge Scott Crichton’s seat on the Caddo bench. Weir had obtained endorsements of over 170 attorneys. This past week he dropped out of the race, citing “family reasons.”

learned lawyers?
learned lawyers?

Weir’s decision certainly put a smile on the face of Charles Tutt, the only other announced candidate for this seat. Tutt has a cushy high dollar job at the Shreveport Bossier Port working a 30 hour week. His backers include many of his former law partners/associates and members of the insurance defense bar.

Jason Waltman is being pushed by many attorneys to jump into this race. Its no secret that this new judge will most likely sit on the criminal bench; Waltman, a former Caddo Assistant District Attorney, has practiced criminal law the last 10 years. Waltman has been considering this race, – – and Weir’s departure certainly is a positive for him.

In the other race for a Caddo judgeship, Doug Dominick and Erin Leigh Waddell-Garrett intend to run for the slot created by Judge Roy Brun’s March 1 retirement.

Riding_the_CoattailsAssuming both qualify, this race will feature the most divergent contrast in judicial candidates in many, many years.

Dominick has had a general practice law for 20 years in his hometown of Vivian; he serves as city attorney for Oil City and Vivian. He has been a Caddo Parish Commissioner since 2007, and he was just elected President of the Caddo Commission.

Waddell-Garrett is the daughter of Caddo Chief Judge Bobby Waddell. As of the November primary date, she will have been practicing law for few months over the 8 year minimum requirement for a district judge. Much like Karelia Stewart, Wadell-Garrett hopes to ride her dad’s coat tails into becoming a judge.

More names may jump into these races; fundraising efforts will need to be commenced by April for serious candidates. Judicial ethics strictly regulate judicial elections, and generally these races are as exciting as watching paint dry. With the heavy November ballot, these very important races will generally not be on radar list for most voters unfortunately.