Voter's Guide, 2020 Fall Elections, Louisiana
Position Appeals Court Judges: 5th Circuit, 2nd Dist., Division A
NameJude G. Gravois

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site
YouTubeTo be furnished.

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
ProfessionAttorney/ appeals court judge
Present Employer / positionJudge on La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal
Length of residence in JurisdictionLifetime (66 years)
List of educational institutions and degreesB.A. degree (history and government) from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA (1975); Juris Doctor degree (law) from LSU Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA (1978).
Prior elected and appointed positionsI was elected to serve as judge on the La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in April 2009 (sworn in on May 1, 2009). I was re-elected to the La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in November, 2010 for a 10-year term on the Court. My current term ends on December 31, 2020. I am currently seeking re-election to the La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.

I was elected/appointed to serve two terms as President of the 23rd Judicial District Bar Association and numerous terms as Vice President. For many years, I was appointed to and spearheaded the local Bar Association’s annual Christmas toy drive. For several years, I was appointed to and served as a teacher/moderator of the Bar Association’s local high school mock trial competitions. I was also elected/appointed to serve for many years as a member of the House of Delegates to the Louisiana State Bar Association. I was also appointed to and served as chairman of the St. James Parish Notarial Commission for some 20-plus years.

Since becoming a judge, I have frequently been selected to serve as a continuing legal education lecturer to judges and lawyers from throughout the state on a wide range of topics, including legal ethics and professionalism. As a judge, I have been appointed to serve on several boards serving the legal profession and the courts, including secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana Council of Court of Appeal Judges, member of the Louisiana Judges Supplemental Compensation Fund Board, and member of the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics, where I assist in the formulation and issuance of advisory opinions to judges and judicial candidates.
Civic involvement and affiliationsKeep St. James Parish Beautiful Board (Board Member for approximately 10 years).
St. James ARC (help sponsor fund-raising events and volunteer for ARC events).
Laplace Lions Club (member and volunteer for civic events the Lions Club is involved in).
St. Philip Catholic Church, Vacherie, LA (member of church advisory council and lecturer at mass).
Knights of Columbus (member, officer, and volunteer for civic events the KC is involved in).

Questions specific to the position

1. Describe your appellate practice trial experience as an attorney. As a practicing attorney, I personally handled writ applications and appeals to the La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court, including writing and preparing writ applications and briefs and participating in oral argument before the courts.
2. Describe your experience researching, analyzing and writing judicial opinions. I have over 11 years’ experience as an appellate court judge on the La. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. During that time, I have reviewed and handled more than 3,250 matters appealed to the Fifth Circuit, including personally authoring more than 350 full appellate opinions and over 700 writ dispositions. I am a hands-on judge who often personally 1) researches the legal issues involved in the particular case I am working on, 2) does my own analyzing of the facts and legal issues involved in the particular case I am working on, and 3) is very involved in writing and final editing of all judicial opinions that are handed down under my name.
3. In a June 8th letter, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Johnson acknowledged "the part we each play in maintaining a system that leaves many of our fellow citizens, especially our African American citizens, feeling that they cannot breathe." Do you agree that the Louisiana criminal justice system disproportionately impacts African Americans? In your role reviewing cases, what can you, as an Appeals Court Judge, do to address this situation?" Recent manifestations tend to show that the Louisiana criminal justice system at times disproportionately impacts African-Americans. Although race must play no part in the decision-making process, judges need to be very sensitive to the impact their decisions have on all persons, especially those disproportionately impacted.
4. What are your views as a judicial candidate about streamlining procedures and preventing lawsuit abuse, while also ensuring access to the courts, particularly for lower income and indigent parties? As far as streamlining procedures are concerned, since I have been on the Fifth Circuit, the Court has (with my personal input and assistance) implemented many processes and procedures intended to speed up the appellate process, including e-filing and e-notification, e-signing of opinions and writ dispositions, and upgrading the Court’s case management system so as to allow all court personnel to have immediate electronic access to all documentation involved in a matter (including briefs, records, and most exhibits) shortly after it is filed. The Fifth Circuit has essentially become a paperless court. These improvements have greatly sped up the appellate process at the Fifth Circuit. In fact, I believe that the Fifth Circuit is the most prompt of all the Louisiana circuits in getting opinions and writ dispositions handed down.

As far as preventing lawsuit abuse is concerned, the legislature has enacted several statutes that address the filing of frivolous lawsuits and appeals and which provide for the imposition of costs and attorney’s fees against parties who file matters that are determined by the court to be frivolous. Although I am a firm believer that everyone should have meaningful access to the courts and have their day in court, when properly requested, I am required to apply the statutes dealing with frivolous lawsuits and appeals, and after careful review of the facts and applicable law involved in the particular case, make determinations as to whether the particular matter under review violates the statutes that address the filing of frivolous lawsuits and appeals. All decisions I make as an appellate court judge are subject to further review by the La. Supreme Court if properly and timely requested.

As far as ensuring access to the courts is concerned, particularly for lower income and indigent parties, as stated above, I am a firm believer that everyone, especially lower income and indigent parties and pro se litigants, should have meaningful access to the courts and have their day in court. Accordingly, I will always allow parties to proceed in forma pauperis (without payment of costs) when properly requested and when in accordance with the statutes which allow parties to proceed without payment of costs.