New Orleans — Scott Gardner was headed to victory Saturday in the race for a 22nd Judicial District Court judgeship in St. Tammany and Washington parishes while two other judicial races — for 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish Juvenile Court — will be decided in a May 4 runoff.
Gardner, a longtime prosecutor with the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney’s Office, was leading Alan Zaunbrecher with 72 percent of the vote with 84 percent of the precincts reporting to fill the Division G seat. The position was left open when William J. Crain was elected to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal last year.
In a field of four candidates, Scott Schlegel and Hilary Landry won runoff spots for the 24th Judicial District Division D seat left open when Judge Robert M. Murphy was elected to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. In complete but unofficial returns, Schlegel got 36 percent of the vote and Landry received 28 percent. John Sudderth received 24 percent of the vote, and Lorraine Perkins McInnis garnered 12 percent.
“Obviously we’re very excited about the results,’’ Schlegel said. “It shows that our grassroots campaign worked. So many people worked so hard …. Judges profoundly impact people’s lives, and real trial experience matters,’’ he said.
At press time, Doug Hammel was headed for a runoff for the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judge’s race against either Yolanda J. King or Cynthia Samuel. With 89 percent of the precincts reporting, Hammel had 43 percent of the vote, while King had 26 percent and Samuel had 23 percent. George Gino Gates IV was in last place with 9 percent of the vote.
Gardner, who was an assistant district attorney in St. Tammany, resigned from that position to run. He said that his 25 years as a prosecutor showed him how large a role a judge can play. He also said he would be tough on violent criminals and those who prey on children but would work to save young people in trouble with the law.
Zaunbrecher, a lawyer in private practice, cited the breadth of his legal experience and his extensive pro bono work, and said that he would work for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the court.