Archive for the ‘State Supreme Court’ Category

3rd JD Judge Cynthia Woodard Announces Retirement


Cynthia “Cindy” Woodard, Third Judicial District (Lincoln, Union Parishes) Division A Judge is retiring early next year, she announced yesterday in an email to her colleagues of the Lincoln Parish Bar.

Members of the Bar,

I feel privileged and honored to have had the opportunity of being one of your district court judges. Aside from my role as a wife and mother, it has truly been the most rewarding and fulfilling undertaking in my life. While at times it has been challenging and in certain instances even troubling and disconcerting, I am very appreciative that the people of Union and Lincoln Parish allowed me to hold this position for 21 years.

I also appreciate the many courtesies virtually all of you have extended to me over these years. There is no doubt that I have been fortunate to have worked with such conscientious members of the bar in Union and Lincoln Parish. You have represented your clients in an exemplary manner, and have been a credit to our community and the legal profession.

I am also fortunate to have worked with such quality colleagues – Judge Smith, Judge McCallum, Judge Rogers and Judge Boddie. Their sense of duty and consistent desire to serve has made me proud to be a member of the bench of the Third Judicial District Court. I am especially proud that we have worked together harmoniously as your judges in an effort to better serve the legal profession and the members of the public.

I have decided to formally retire early in 2018. When that time comes, I will miss working with all of you, but I have every confidence that the Judicial District will continue to prosper.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, my colleagues, and all of those with whom I have worked on a daily basis. In speaking of my heart, I hope that upon my retirement, you would feel that any mistakes that I have made along the way have been of the head and not of the heart, as my sincere wish has always been to perform my duties in a manner that promoted justice and fairness. I especially want to thank my husband and children for their support and encouragement. To the extent that I have had any success in this position and in life, I owe it to them.

Cindy Woodard

Woodard, first elected in 1996, was in 2014 elected unopposed for a six year term. As the term runs until 2020, a special election must be held to fill the remainder.

Woodard’s action comes on the heels of other rumored changes in the district.

With the impending retirement next year of 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harmon Drew, court house rumors have 3rd JD’s Chief Judge Jay McCallum vying for that spot.

Drew reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last year, but is allowed to finish his term which expires 12/31/18.

Should McCallum win that slot, his position at the district level will become vacant. Third JD Assistant District Attorney Bruce Hampton is rumored to be eyeing that position.


Lolley “Retires” From LA 2nd Circuit


Judge Lolley to retire from Second Circuit
Three area judges, including Ellender, Marchman, planning campaigns for the appeal court

By Zach Parker May 2, 2017

Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Larry Lolley, who drew scrutiny last fall for ex-parte communications with a Monroe attorney, is expected to take early retirement from the court, according to the appeal court’s chief judge.

Second Circuit Chief Judge Henry Brown Jr. said Lolley would retire on Wednesday. “He is retiring, effective May 3,” Brown said.

Lolley drew controversial attention last fall when copies of Oct. 27, 2016 text messages between he and Monroe attorney Mark Neal surfaced. The text messages constituted an ex-parte communication – which Lolley initiated – about one of Neal’s cases before the appeal court, as first reported by The Ouachita Citizen in November 2016.

The state Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct forbids any ex-parte communications concerning substantive matters or the merits of a case.

See here the complete article (subscription required).

Louisiana DA’s Also Have Destin Junket!



Registration is open to everyone employed within the criminal justice system. The registratioon fee is $325 for registrations postmarked or faxed before Friday, May 26, 2017, and $425 after this date. The late registration fee is $525 at the door. The registration fee includes all training sessions, handouts and coffee breaks for the registrant, and planned social functions for the registrant and spouse/guest. Accommodations, travel expenses, and incidentals are the responsibility of the registrant. Payment may be made at a later date prior to the Conference.


The Association has obtained special accommodation rates for attendees at the Conference site, the Sandestin Resort, located at 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West in Destin, Florida. All rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes and fees in effect at time of check-in.

Here’s a link to the conference webpage.

Taxpayer Funded Courthouse Crowd Vacation Time!!


Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2009

Substance Abuse Clinic for Alcoholic Federal Judge


Records: Federal judge in Louisiana diagnosed with ‘alcohol use disorder,’ moved into assisted living

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

A federal judge whose unusual behavior preceded her mysterious removal from a string of cases was ordered to get treatment for alcoholism so severe a colleague believes she cannot take care of herself, according to court records released Thursday.

The records revealing U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi’s alcoholism don’t answer whether it was a factor in the secretive interruptions in her Louisiana courtroom. But the documents show she moved into an assisted living facility specializing in “memory care” within three months of presiding over a criminal trial that was cut short without explanation.

The mandate for Minaldi to complete at least 90 days of substance abuse treatment came from a higher court official — the chief judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A newly released medical record cites the severity of Minaldi’s alcoholism and unspecified “legal consequences she had attained” as the reasons for that requirement.

It is unclear when Chief Judge Carl Stewart imposed that mandate, but Minaldi, 58, has been on medical leave since late December. She arrived at a rehab facility Jan. 4, according to a “patient discharge summary” included in the now-unsealed records.

Lincoln/Union District Courts Order ROR for Some Misdemeanors


Following the action of Ruston City Court last month, judges of the Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District have also issued an order rescinding the misdemeanor bond schedule in effect, and adopted a revised policy regarding bond requirements.

Wrote Judges Cynthia Woodard, Tommy Rogers, and Jay McCallum:

Considering the need to reduce the number of persons who remain incarcerated because they cannot afford to post bond misdemeanor charges, the Court after consultation with the Sheriff and District Attorney deemed it appropriate to rescind the misdemeanor bond schedule currently in effect and to adopt the following policy and procedure with regard to misdemeanor arrestees:

1) After arrest, all misdemeanor arrestees – except those expressly listed in Section 2 below and those who are non­ residents of the State of Louisiana – will be released on their own recognizance after the completion of standard booking procedures.

2) For arrestees charged with offenses listed in (i) – (liv) below or non-residents, the duty judge will make a case-by­ case determination as to whether the arrestee will be released on recognizance or if bond will be required. This determination will be made after review of the affidavit for probable causes.

See here the complete order with offense list.

Lake Charles Federal Judge Mentally Unfit?


Court date set: Press seeks unsealing of Minaldi record

By Marilyn Monroe / American Press / Lake Charles, LA

A motion was filed Wednesday by the American Press to unseal the judicial record of a case seeking the interdiction of U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi.

The suit, which would deem Minaldi mentally incapacitated and restrain her from managing her own estate or financial affairs without the consent of a curator, was filed in state district court March 16. The proceedings were then ordered sealed.

Kathleen Kay, who works under Minaldi as U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of Louisiana, is named as a plaintiff, according to Calcasieu Clerk of Court records. Local attorney Glen Vamvoras is listed as temporary curator.

The suit comes just over two months after Tony Moore, Western District of Louisiana Clerk of Court, told the American Press that Minaldi was on a “medical leave of absence” and would be absent from the bench for the foreseeable future.

Minaldi had previously removed herself — with no reasons given — from more than two dozen cases since a trial she presided over in December ended abruptly.

In Wednesday’s filing, attorney Rick Norman, on behalf of the American Press, asked the court to unseal the entire court record or redact it “to the minimum extent necessary” to balance “the rights of the public and those of Judge Minaldi.”

Judge Ron Ware has scheduled a hearing on the motion for 10 a.m. April 18.

Here are some earlier news stories on Minaldi:

Louisiana judge who mysteriously surrendered string of cases takes medical leave – 1/26/17

Mystery deepens after federal judge removes herself from more cases in Louisiana – 1/29/17

Secrecy clouds Minaldi removal – 10/16/16

Federal judge pleads guilty to first-offense DWI – 2/28/14

Ouachita Parish Court Coverup Update


Appeal court doubts law clerk’s immunity

By Zach Parker

BATON ROUGE — Whether a “non-lawyer law clerk” at Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe can be sued for destroying court documents was at the heart of questions discussed by a panel of judges at the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge last week.

The three-judge panel, including Chief Judge Vanessa Whipple as well as judges John Michael Guidry and Page McClendon, was assigned to preside over last week’s hearing in Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III’s lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials.

Palowsky’s July 2015 lawsuit accused law clerk Allyson Campbell of concealing or destroying court documents he filed with the court in a separate lawsuit against his former business partner, Brandon Cork. Palowsky sued Fourth Judicial District Court judges Fred Amman, Wilson Rambo, Carl Sharp, Stephens Winters and retired Judge Ben Jones, who now serves as the court’s administrator. According to Palowsky’s lawsuit, the five judges conspired to cover up Campbell’s activities.

“Is it a function of a law clerk to destroy pleadings?” said Guidry, of the First Circuit, while discussing the propriety of a “non-lawyer law clerk” enjoying the same judicial immunity as a judge. “Is that a function of judges to destroy public records?”

During last week’s hearing, the judges asked for parties to distinguish or whether a law clerk should enjoy the same protection from lawsuits as judges under the standard of judicial immunity.

Second Circuit Court Issues Surface


Attorney blows whistle on Second Circuit Judge Larry Lolley for ex-parte messages in Sixth St. bar case

By Zach Parker 2 hrs ago 0

Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Larry Lolley initiated an ex-parte communication with Monroe attorney Mark Neal last month, warning the attorney the appellate court would likely rule against his client, the Sixth Street Saloon in Monroe, prior to a hearing on the bar’s appeal.

The ex-parte communication was conveyed in text messages from Lolley to Neal on Oct. 27. Ex-parte communications concerning substantive matters or the merits of a case are forbidden, according to the state Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct.

Lolley, of Monroe, said Neal was wasting time pursuing his client’s lawsuit and should take his career into consideration before taking such cases. Lolley also indicated the Second Circuit’s three-judge panel – including himself – would likely favor the defendant, not Neal’s client.

Neal reported the incident to the Second Circuit in an Oct. 31 letter that included screenshots of the text message exchange with Lolley. The Ouachita Citizen obtained the documents through a public records request to the court.

“This exchange clearly and unfortunately demonstrates unsolicited, ex-parte communication from Judge Lolley to me regarding a case pending before this court and to which the three presiding judges are referenced by name,” stated Neal’s letter to the court.

Cox Wins 2nd Circuit Judgeship


Cox defeats incumbent for seat on appeals court

By Gary Hines – KTBS-TV3

In a rare challenge of a sitting judge, Bossier-Webster District Judge Jeff Cox defeated incumbent Jay Caraway on Tuesday for a seat on the state appeals court representing much of north Louisiana.

Cox had 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Caraway, with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

Cox heavily outspent Caraway in the race, which also had its share of acrimony. A Caraway campaign ad pointed to the number of times Cox’s rulings in civil cases have been overturned on appeal. The Cox campaign criticized Caraway for reducing the bond that had been set for a man accused of rape. A judicial campaign oversight committee said both candidates misrepresented some of the facts.

The judgeship is on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal. Voters in parishes from Bossier to Lincoln voted in the election.