Voter's Guide, 2020 Fall Elections, New Orleans
Position JUDGE -- JUVENILE COURT,Section F

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
ProfessionAttorney at Law and Registered Social Worker
Present Employer / positionSelf
Length of residence in Jurisdiction54 years
List of educational institutions and degreesLoyola University College of Law - Juris Doctor (JD) 1991
Tulane University School of Social Work - Master of Social Work (MSW) 1991
University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) (UofL, Lafayette) Bachelor of Science (BS) 1987
University of Toulon,, Toulon France 1986
Prior elected and appointed positionsAppointed by Louisiana Supreme Court - Judge Pro Tempore Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. August to October 2010
Civic involvement and affiliationsNational Association of Social Workers-Louisiana Chapter , Regional Representative, Board of Directors 2019-20
New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board (CYPB) 2014-20
National Alliance of Mental Illness, Board of Directors 2018-20
Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Member
National Association for Court Management, Member
National Bar Association
American Bar Association

Questions specific to the position

1. What is your experience as an attorney in Juvenile Court? If you have had no experience practicing in Juvenile Court, please discuss any other experience that would qualify you for this position. I have over 25 years of legal experience in Juvenile Court. I served as a Public Defender from 1992-94. I subsequently served as Traffic Referee for Juvenile Court until 2005. In 2010 was appointed Judge Pro Tempore in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, Section C from August to October 2010. Since that time I have served as Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, Clerk of Court until my resignation to seek this position I served as Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, Judicial Administrator.
2. What rehabilitation and support programs do you support and are there any other programs you would initiate? As Judicial Administrator, I was able to create and support court programs that successfully increased rate of court appearance by youth and reduce recidivism for youth that participated in court programs. I was the principle in the creation of evidence-based gender specific programing that resulted in a reduction in the number of female youth in the Orleans Parish Juvenile Justice System.
I am in support of early prevention and intervention programs that serve to prevent entrance into the juvenile justice system or works to reduce the length of time that youth remain in the juvenile justice system.
Mental Health is one of the most under addressed issues in the juvenile justice system. Research shows that least 65% of youth who enter the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health issue. I would like to implement a program that includes early mental health assessments and a Mental Health specialty court that address any mental health challenges in conjunction with the delinquency proceedings.
3. What changes will you advocate for to ensure that juvenile detention facilities have adequate resources and are sufficiently staffed? In my role as Judicial Adminstrator, I facilitated a study through the Juvenile Detention Alternative (JDAI) that examined the conditions of confinement for juvenile in detention facilities. The study creates a framework for improving circumstances for detained youth. As Judge in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, I will continue to work to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the study, including an in-house psychiatrist, sufficient staffing to maintain order and more policies and procedures that promote positive social behavior. Juvenile detention facilities should serve more of a rehabilitative function and provided resources to both youth and families to support re-entry after detention to mitigate the harmful effects of detention.
4. What alternative sentencing measures would you implement during the pandemic to ensure the safety of convicted juveniles? COVID-19 has dramatically altered the juvenile justice system. Prior to March 2020, each year about 218,000 kids spend time in a juvenile detention facility. The pandemic has forced communities to engage and utilize technology better than ever before. Juvenile justice systems must look to community-based alternatives to the youth detention model. Any measures implemented during the pandemic must primarily seek to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Initiation of meaningful and appropriate restrictive alternative to detention measures, including strict curfews, evening reporting centers, home confinement, and programs such as boys town. As we implement alternative detention methods, we must include components that support youth and families as they move toward more healthy and productive lives.
5. Have you ever been censored or disciplined? If yes, please explain. No, I have never been censored or disciplined.