Baton Rouge City Court Judge Alex “Brick” Wall said he promised voters three things 13 years ago when he first ran for a seat on the court: That he would be fair and impartial; treat everyone with respect, dignity and courtesy; and maintain a current docket.
“I made certain promises in 1999 and I believe I’ve lived up to those promises,” the 63-year-old Democrat said. “The last 13 years have been the most rewarding of my (38 years of) legal experience.”
Now, Wall is asking Division C voters to reward him with a new six-year term on City Court when they go to the polls Nov. 6.
Baton Rouge lawyer Joel G. Porter is running against Wall, who has not faced opposition since his election in 1999.
“I’m qualified and I aspire to serve in a higher position,” said Porter, a 45-year-old Democrat. “I’d like to take it to another level.”
Porter said he was motivated to enter the race by Operation Illegal Motion, an ongoing federal investigation of corruption in city and state district courts in Baton Rouge. The probe has resulted in charges against 10 people, all of whom have pleaded guilty, including former senior City Prosecutor Flitcher Bell and former veteran City Court employee Ann Warr.
Bell was sentenced to three years in federal prison in 2010 after admitting he received more than $30,000 in bribes for dismissing cases. Warr was put on probation for three years after admitting she accepted cash to falsely record completion of community service by people convicted for various offenses.
“I’m running to restore the integrity back to Baton Rouge City Court,” said Porter, a military veteran and ordained minister.
Wall’s campaign flier notes that members of the Baton Rouge Bar Association have ranked him No. 1 among his City Court colleagues based on his experience, knowledge and work ethic.
“I never thought I’d have to do that,” Wall said of his touting of the survey results. “I never thought I’d have to run again with opposition. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Wall, however, said the challenge is “invigorating” him.
“I ain’t ready to quit,” he said. “I’m pumped. I look forward to campaigning.”
The Division C seat that Wall occupies basically comprises the southern and eastern parts of the city.
Porter said going door to door in an area so large “is no joke, but it’s been good.”
Porter contends drugs, crime and violence have a “death grip over our city,” but he said he has a plan to reduce crime. His plan includes fighting for legislation to add courses in middle and high schools that introduce youth to criminal law and the consequences of committing crimes and fighting for mandatory community service and life skills training designed to reduce recidivism.
Porter also promotes new legislation to address domestic and spousal abuse, crimes against the elderly and sex crimes against prepubescent children.
Wall said a disturbing trend in recent years has been an uptick in the number of cases involving marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia, domestic violence and driving while intoxicated.
“We see it before they (19th Judicial District Court) see it,” he said. “We do have the opportunity to stop it. I believe we have in some cases.”
Wall said it’s difficult to put into words how rewarding it is to have the parents of a young person tell him that he helped their child get off drugs.
“It’s why we do what we do,” he said. “If we stop one person, that’s a success.”