Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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2002 Press Releases

CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
(504) 599-0319

  MARCH 15, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. announced today that the Louisiana Supreme Court has established a Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee. With this step, Louisiana joins seven other states ( Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota) with a committee that engages or has engaged in some form of judicial campaign oversight. A copy of the resolution and rule establishing the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee is available on the Louisiana Supreme Court web site at www.lasc.org.

According to Chief Justice Calogero, "The purpose of this committee is to serve as a resource for judicial candidates, to assist in educating judges and attorneys running for judicial office about the Canons of Judicial Ethics, and to help deter impermissible judicial campaign conduct. The public will benefit from the creation of a Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee since it will help judges and candidates comply during a campaign with the standards of ethical conduct required by the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct."

The Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee will consist of 15 members appointed by the Supreme Court and will be comprised of sitting or retired judges, lawyers and citizens who are neither lawyers nor judges. One of the judge members will be designated by the Supreme Court to chair the work of the Committee.

One of the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee's important functions is education, as it will sponsor "how to" seminars and serve as a resource to answer candidates' campaign-related questions. The Committee will not have disciplinary authority as does the Judiciary Commission, a constitutional body empowered to review allegations of judicial misconduct. The Committee will be in a position to respond to complaints and may issue public statements, but only when 2/3 of the members believe clear and convincing evidence has been provided of a violation of the limited Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct specifically enumerated in the rule.

The Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee is expected to be organized by mid-April 2002 and to be in place for the 2002 campaign season. The elections for many district court judges, appellate court judges and one supreme court justice are scheduled for this Fall. In April 2000, an Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Creation of a Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court and was charged with studying and then making recommendations regarding the benefits and feasibility of establishing a permanent committee of this sort. Following a public hearing which invited public comment on the possibility of the Supreme Court's establishing a permanent judicial campaign oversight committee, and after further study, the Ad Hoc committee finalized its recommendations in a report to the Supreme Court in May 2001. The recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee were posted on the Louisiana Supreme Court web site.

In closing, Chief Justice Calogero said, "The formation of this committee is not an effort to stop affirmative, aggressive campaigning and legitimate speech encompassed by the First Amendment. Rather, the establishment of a judicial campaign oversight committee will encourage judges to comply with the Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and the committee's formation is a step forward for the judiciary, a step taken in the best interest of the judicial system and of the public."

 

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