Voter's Guide, 2020 Fall Elections, Louisiana
Position Associate Justice, Supreme Court, 7th District
NameSandra Cabrina Jenkins

Campaign Information

Campaign Web Site

Bio Information

Party AffiliationDemocrat
ProfessionJudge, Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit
Present Employer / positionState of Louisiana Judicial Branch
Length of residence in Jurisdiction31
List of educational institutions and degreesLouisiana State University, Bachelor of Arts (Political Science)
Southern University, Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Master of Public Administration
Southern University Law Center, Juris Doctor
McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University Master of Divinity (Atlanta Campus)
Prior elected and appointed positionsNONE
Civic involvement and affiliationsJudge Jenkins Law Camps
• JWOB – Justice Without Bias
• Law Body and Soul
• The Civility of Civics
Former Board member:
• Greg K. Monroe Foundation, Inc.
• Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LAFASA)
• Alliance for Affordable Energy
Currently serves as a board member:
• Operation Restoration, an organization supporting women and girls impacted by incarceration.
• She is a member of the Louisiana Women’s Incarceration Task Force.

Questions specific to the position

1. Discuss your prior court experience with emphasis on criminal and civil law as a practicing attorney and as a District Court Judge. Judge Jenkins learned to practice law in Orleans Parish. Her practice area for 23 years was primarily criminal law. She spent 18 years between Tulane and Broad in the courtrooms of Orleans Parish Criminal District Court and Camp Street in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Three of her eighteen years was as an Assistant District Attorney, and her final 15 years of practice was as a criminal defense attorney.

Solo Practitioner
As a solo practitioner Judge Jenkins’ practice area was predominately criminal law. She represented clients as a trial attorney and appellate counsel in courts across the State of Louisiana, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Jenkins civil practice area included personal injury, wills and successions, and representation of Veterans. She was certified as a VA accredited attorney for the purpose of assisting in the preparation and presentation of VA benefit claims.

In 2005, in response to Hurricane Katrina, Judge Jenkins relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and worked as a contract attorney for various temporary attorney agencies. She enjoyed a limited practice in Louisiana between 2005 and 2010. Upon her return to New Orleans, she began rebuilding her practice until elected to the bench, November 6, 2012.
2. Describe your appellate practice trial experience as an attorney, or as an appeals court judge. Pro Se Staff Attorney
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, 1992-1997
Immediately following her service as an Assistant District Attorney, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal hired Judge Jenkins as a member of its Central Staff. As a staff attorney, she reviewed, researched and prepared for the court written recommendations on pro se writ applications, criminal appeals and applications for post-conviction relief.

Appellate Counsel
Louisiana Appellate Project, 1998-2000
Judge Jenkins’ history as an appellate counsel continued with her contract employment with the Louisiana Appellate Project (LAP). LAP provides appellate counsel for indigents on direct appeal. Judge Jenkins represented indigents for the parishes of Jefferson and Orleans.

Special Appeal Counsel
Office of the District Attorney, Washington and St. Tammany Parishes 2002-2005
While an associate attorney at the law firm of Scheuermann and Jones, one of Judge Jenkins’ responsibilities was the representation of the District Attorney as respondent to Petitions for Habeas Corpus under 28 US Code 2254 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the in U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Jenkins currently serves on the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. This court’s jurisdiction includes Orleans, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes. She has authored hundreds of Civil and Criminal opinions since her election on November 6, 201
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? If so, what will you do as a Supreme Court Justice to lessen that impact? Systemic racism and bias exist in the judiciary. Judges bring to the bench not only their legal knowledge but life experiences, culture, heritage, morals, and values. Judge Jenkins believes that courts should reflect the diversity of the communities it serves otherwise it threatens their legitimacy in the eyes of the public. The exclusion of diverse perspectives from judges’ deliberations is a threat to fair and impartial justice.
Judge Jenkins offers the diverse perspective to the judicial decision making process that does not currently exist on the court. Judge Jenkins offers diversity to the bench in that she entered the judiciary as a criminal defense attorney. She transitioned from the advocate protecting the constitutional rights of clients to the jurists interpreting the constitution and imparting justice. The transition from attorney to judge, however, did not cause Judge Jenkins to abandon her perspective and concern about the unintended social and economic consequences of our criminal justice system, nor is she blind to the systemic biases within the judicial system.
Judge Jenkins is committed to an education process that would include judges, stakeholders, formerly incarcerated persons, the business community and public on acknowledging and identifying systems that perpetuate bias and racism.
4. It has come to public attention there is a lack of transparency when judges have been disciplined. What will you do to ensure transparency? It is important that the public has confidence and trust in the judiciary. I think the Judiciary has failed to adequately educate the public on the process of the discipline of judges. The recent amendments to Supreme Court Rule XXIII as it relates to proceedings that have been closed, appears to allow more transparency to the public. I am committed to developing curriculum and opportunity for forums to educate the public on the process of discipline of judges
5. 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? Lawyers have a professional duty and responsibility to assess whether a viable cause of action exist to initiate litigation. The Court is does not possess the authority to impede in any manner the choice of a litigant to file a lawsuit. The Louisiana Codes of Civil Procedure, Evidence, Civil Code and various statues and case law establish the procedure and process of a lawsuit. Pre-trial motion practice typically challenges the viability of a lawsuit in its early phases; therefore, frivolous lawsuits are identified early and resolved in various ways. Finally, access to the court is a fundamental right that all should enjoy without regard to financial status. I am committed to encouraging help desk for persons that are self-represented as well as the ability to file for pauper status when there is no ability to pay filing fees.