District Attorney, former judge, come to candidate’s defense

Erin Wiley Lanoux

The contest to succeed Judge Marilyn Lambert to Ascension’s Parish Court bench is turning contentious.  Competing interviews on a Baton Rouge television station recently, two weeks before the November 6 election, saw Kim Landry question Erin Wiley Lanoux’s qualifications.  Viewed as the underdog among those who monitor elections closely, Landry has pushed the narrative that Lanoux would be forced to recuse from criminal/traffic proceedings in which Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office is the arresting agency while Lanoux’s father was the sheriff.

In fact, Landry sought an opinion from Louisiana Supreme Court’s Judiciary Committee to that effect the week after qualifying for the election closed.  The seven page request read more like a legal memorandum urging the committee to opine in Landry’s favor, and included 14 questions.  Here’s one:

Whether recusal is mandated under La.C.Cr.P. art. 671(6) because the Judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned and a need to avoid the appearance of impropriety when the Judge’s father was the chief law enforcement officer of the law enforcement agency at the time the complaint was made and the law enforcement agency is the “complaining party” in the criminal matter as a result of that complaint and failure to do so would violate Cannon 3, 3(C) of the Code of Judicial Conduct?

The committee declined to provide any opinion at all in response to Landry’s request.

But Erin Lanoux has responded, writing on her campaign’s social media page:

When I decided to run for judge, I made a commitment to myself and my family that I would run a positive and truthful campaign. Regrettably, as happens all too often, my opponent has resorted to making statements that are blatantly false. Thank you to retired Judge Pegram Mire Jr. and District Attorney Ricky Babin for setting the record straight. The law is clear that if I’m elected, I will be able to hear all types of cases that come before me in parish court.

 

“I…can say without reservation that Erin Wiley Lanoux would not have to recuse herself on every case handled by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.  It is unfortunate that this information is being used in a judicial race,” wrote Ricky Babin on stationary from his private practice.

 

“In a recent interview, Kim Landry, a candidate for Ascension Parish Court Judge, made the inaccurate statement that if elected, Erin Wiley Lanoux couldn’t hear cases in which the Sheriff was the arresting agency, due to her father being sheriff.  As a former judge for 24 years, I can tell you that is 100% false and Ms. Landry should know better.  There is no case in which Ms. Lanoux would be ineligible from hearing on this basis,” wrote former Parish and District Court Judge Pegram Mire, Jr.

 

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