Schlegel, King win judgeships in Jefferson, Orleans

Scott Schlegel, a former Jefferson Parish prosecutor, will be sitting on the 24th Judicial District bench after decisively defeating Hilary Landry for the seat left open when Judge Robert Murphy was elected last fall to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

According to complete but unofficial returns Saturday on the Secretary of State’s website, Schlegel won 67 percent of the 15,694 votes cast.

In Orleans Parish, Yolanda King beat Doug Hammel with 53 percent of the total 27,594 ballots cast for the Juvenile Court judgeship left vacant when Tracey Flemings-Davillier was elected to the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in November.

Schlegel, a former felony prosecutor with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office, and Landry, who had been the drug court prosecutor for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney, led a field of four candidates in the April primary. They faced off in a runoff that became heated in its final weeks.

Landry issued campaign mailers that attacked Schlegel’s record as an assistant district attorney, and Schlegel filed a complaint about Landry with the Louisiana Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee.

That panel issued a public statement on Friday, the day before the runoff, that said Landry violated the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct by making a false statement in one mailer and commenting on a pending case in another.

Landry did not comment on the committee’s statement Friday. But her lawyer, Tom Owen, issued a prepared statement Friday saying her campaign disagreed with the committee’s conclusion. He said Landry had a right to criticize her opponent’s job performance, particularly since he was campaigning on his experience, and that while judges should not comment on open cases, a judicial candidate should be allowed to do so because of the First Amendment.

In the Juvenile Court race, King and Hammel led a field of four candidates in April’s election.

King is a former court clerk who also worked for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office as an assistant district attorney. She has made three previous bids for judgeships, one in Criminal District Court and two in Juvenile Court.

King campaigned on her experience in the courtroom and said she would find ways to shore up financial losses the court faces as the city cuts back some funding

Hammel is a former Jefferson Parish prosecutor who has managed his own law office since leaving the public sector. This was his first run for office.

Hammel promised to evaluate court structure in an effort to streamline operations and to focus on crime prevention among juveniles.