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

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
Present Employer / positionClinton Smith Law Firm, Attorney & Counselor
Length of residence in Jurisdiction36
List of educational institutions and degrees1982 Morehouse College Graduate, B.A. in History; 1987 Tulane Law School Graduate, Juris Doctorate
Prior elected and appointed positionsI have served as Judge Pro Tempore for Orleans Parish Traffic Court (appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court) and Ad Hoc Judge in Juvenile Court. I was also appointed Administrative Law Judge for the Aviation Board by former Mayor Marc Morial and have served on the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Civic involvement and affiliationsLouisiana State Bar; Louisiana Martinet Society; Eastern District of Louisiana Federal District Court; Louisiana Affiliate of the National Kidney Foundation; Archdiocese of New Orleans Faith & Marriage Advisory Board

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 served as Ad Hoc Judge in Juvenile Court for Judges C. Heard Taylor and Mark Doherty. I have also represented clients in Juvenile Court.
2. What rehabilitation and support programs do you support and are there any other programs you would initiate? As Judge, I will utilize data available to assess programs currently in use and evaluate their levels of effectiveness. I am familiar with the Teen Court and MELLOW Programs, and believe they are good programs. However, if a program does not benefit those in detention and the court in general, I will work with my colleagues to discontinue their use and identify proven programs and providers to replace them. I will also look to streamline court processes, including improving the time efficiency of investigations, and the delivery of clear and succinct responses. I am a member of the Silverback Society Mentor Program and will look to integrate the Silverback philosophy into beneficial existing programs with the overall goal of creating and providing consistent and positive structural environments for youth from the time they enter the juvenile court system, through detention or rehabilitation, and upon release. Working closely with juvenile agencies, we'll be able to assess each entrant and determine the best plan of action to address his or her specific obstacles and needs. Once they have completed their program, these adolescents will have grown substantially, having a better understanding of themselves, their self-worth and potential, and how to more effectively manage their decision-making. Ultimately, they will have been given the knowledge, tools and resources to help them become a productive citizen in our community.
3. What changes will you advocate for to ensure that juvenile detention facilities have adequate resources and are sufficiently staffed? I would look to utilize a risk assessment analysis to reduce juvenile pretrial detention. Considering the objectives of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), utilizing this analysis would not only reduce crowding in detention facilities, but would also reduce the unnecessary or inappropriate confinement of children and encourage the development of alternatives to secure confinement. I would look to incorporate the JDAI’s criteria to make this determination, designed to separate low-risk youth from higher-risk individuals, assessing the risk of re-offending before appearing in court, or failure to appear in court altogether.
4. What alternative sentencing measures would you implement during the pandemic to ensure the safety of convicted juveniles? For several months I have had conversations with with Dr. Kyshun Webster, Director of the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center, who I will work closely with to ensure all COVID rules and regulations are being enforced and followed, including the wearing of masks and social distancing protocols. As an overarching approach, however, as mentioned above, I will always seek to highly consider options other than detention for cases that do not justify it. I commit to working with fellow judges and juvenile agencies to utilize whatever rehabilitation programs are justifiably possible -- not only during this pandemic, but as an overarching approach.
5. Have you ever been censored or disciplined? If yes, please explain. No