Voters to elect judges in Orleans, Jefferson

Two runoff races in Orleans and Jefferson parishes will see voters elect judges to the bench at juvenile and state courts respectively. The election is May 4.

In Jefferson Parish, Hilary Landry and Scott Schlegel are each vying to fill the seat on the 24th Judicial District Court left vacant when Judge Robert M. Murphy was elected last year to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

In a field of four candidates, Schlegel got 36 percent of the vote and Landry received 28 percent. John Sudderth received 24 percent of the vote during the April 6 primary.

Schlegel, 35, and Landry, 36, both point to their legal experience as the reason they should serve as the Division D judge on the Jefferson Parish court that handles criminal, civil and family cases.

Landry resigned her position as a drug court prosecutor for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office to run for judge. Schlegel, an assistant district attorney for Jefferson Parish, also resigned to run for office.

In Orleans Parish, voters will elect Doug Hammel or Yolanda King to juvenile court to fill a seat vacated after former Deputy Chief Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier won election in November to Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

Hammel and King rounded out a field of four candidates who sought the seat. Hammel secured 43 percent of the vote, while King received 25 percent of ballots cast during the primary.

Hammel, 40, is a former Jefferson Parish prosecutor who has managed his own law office since he left the public sector. King, 55, is a former court clerk and former Orleans Parish district attorney. She, too, has been in private practice for the past several years. She previously ran unsuccessful campaigns for judgeships at Criminal District Court in 2008 and for Juvenile Court in 2002 and 2004.

If elected, Hammel has promised to evaluate the existing court structure in an effort to streamline operations while focusing on crime prevention among juveniles.

King has campaigned on her experience in the courtroom, saying that she will not need any time to adapt to the role of judge. She also has said she will find ways to shore up financial losses the court will face this year since the city cut back some of the funding it provides the court.