CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE S. WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
| DECEMBER 9, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Twenty-sixth Judicial District Court Judge Ford Stinson, who currently serves as Chief Judge, and his wife Suzanne, who is the court administrator for the same Court, will be retiring at the end of this year. The Stinsons will be leaving over 50 combined years of legacy with the 26th Judicial District. There was a formal opinion issued by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1996, allowing Suzanne to continue employment with the Court upon Judge Stinson’s election to the bench.
Judge Stinson began his career with the 26th Judicial District, serving as chief indigent defender from 1985 through 1996, the year he was elected district judge. Judge Stinson was admitted to the bar in 1977 after graduating from LSU Law School. During his legal career, he served as president of the Bossier Bar Association, served on the board of directors of Northwest Louisiana Legal Services and on the executive committee for the Louisiana District Judges’ Association. He is a member of the Louisiana Bar Foundation, Louisiana District Judges’ Association, and Louisiana and National Councils of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Stinson, who is an avid Benton and LSU Tigers fan, serves as public address announcer for Benton High School football games, which he has done since 1986.
Judge Stinson is the sixth of now eight generations of the Stinson family to live in Bossier Parish. He is a direct descendant of several pioneer Bossier Parish families with many members having been involved in public service. Including his tenure as judge, the service of his family to the public has spanned parts of three centuries. His great-great-grandfather, Major R.E. Wyche, served as sheriff of Bossier Parish from 1878-1889. His great grandfather, Ford Edwards, served as sheriff of Bossier Parish from 1904 until 1920. His grandfather, Robert T. Stinson, was Bossier Parish Treasurer from 1913 until 1919. His father, Ford Edwards Stinson, served on the Benton Board of Aldermen from 1936-1940 and in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1940-1944 and 1952-1972. His father also was one of the two delegates elected from Bossier Parish to serve in the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973. Judge Stinson’s mother, Edna Earle Richardson Stinson, was the first woman in the history of the parish to serve as foreman of a Bossier Parish grand jury.
Suzanne began her career with the Court in 1982, serving as official court reporter for Judge Graydon Kitchens. At the time Suzanne began with the judges’ office, she had received an associate of science degree from Louisiana Tech University. She continued to work full time, continue her college studies and graduated magna cum laude from Louisiana Tech in 1988, and later received her MBA in 1992 and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in 1994, also from Louisiana Tech. She became a Fellow with the Institute for Court Management in 2007, graduating at the United States Supreme Court, where Chief Justice John Roberts served as the commencement speaker. The Court created the court administrator position in 1993. Suzanne served as deputy court administrator until 1996 when she became the court administrator for the 26th Judicial District Court.
Locally, Suzanne has served as president of the Benton Rotary Club, president of the Commission for Women of Bossier City, president of the Shreveport-Bossier Bar Auxiliary, and board of directors for Christus Health for Northern Louisiana. On the state level, she has served as president of the Louisiana Court Administrators Association, was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to serve on the Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters, appointed by Chief Justice Pascal Calogero to serve on the Louisiana State Court Rules Committee, appointed by Chief Justice Catherine Kimball to serve on the Louisiana Judicial Compensation Commission and was recently reappointed by Chief Justice Bernette Johnson to serve on the Judicial Compensation Commission. Nationally, Suzanne served as president of the National Association for Court Management, served two consecutive terms on the board of directors with the National Center for State Courts, and continues to serve on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Court Management and on the editorial board for Future Trends for State Courts. She is also currently serving on the board of directors with the International Association for Court Administrators.
Together Judge Stinson and Suzanne helped create, with the grant writing assistance of the district attorney’s office, one of the first drug courts in Louisiana. Judge Stinson served as the first adult drug court judge in 2000 and continued in that capacity until 2004. Suzanne was also the first drug court coordinator.
Judge Stinson and Suzanne are also veterans. Judge Stinson served as Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, and Suzanne served in the Louisiana Army National Guard. They are also active with their church, where Suzanne serves as church council chair for Asbury United Methodist Church, and Judge Stinson serves as chair for the District United Methodist board of trustees. They remain active with the Krewe of Justinian, where Judge Stinson served as king in 2003, and Suzanne served as duchess in 1999 and later as queen in 2006.
Together they have four married sons and their wives, Ford III and Susie, Brian and Rebecca, Doug and Lauren, and Eric and Katharine. They have six grandchildren, with the seventh due in January.
- 30 -