On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Nola Reported that Jefferson Parish Judge Donald “Chick” Foret testified in front of a judicial hearing officer to defend himself against misconduct allegations.

Judge Foret has found himself in hot water after several outbursts in his courtroom that included swearing at his criminal clerk and making vulgar comments about lawyers. The incidents led to three separate complaints being filed against him with the Louisiana Judiciary Commission. At a hearing this week, 70-year-old Judge Foret was called on to explain his actions.

While he acknowledged using inappropriate language that violated judicial conduct rules, Foret maintained he never directed profanity at anyone related to his work. However, his former criminal clerk Jessica Tuminello painted a different picture in her testimony. She recounted a specific episode where Foret angrily yelled “where the f**k is the table?” at her in front of others after prosecutors had no space to display evidence. Tuminello said she was humiliated and left the courtroom.

Foret disputed her version of events, calling her account “totally untruthful” and suggesting she exaggerated what really happened. He expressed regret for losing his temper but stopped short of fully admitting culpability. In another instance, Foret was overheard referring to local attorney Jason Baer as a “piece of s**t” during a bench conference, though Baer wasn’t involved in the case. A state appeals court later removed Foret from presiding over the matter.

Through it all, the long-time former prosecutor-turned-judge maintained his salty language and occasional outbursts were due to his work ethic and upbringing rather than bias or malice. While recognizing he needs better conduct as a judge, Foret asserted he’s becoming “judicially more mature” and learning to control his emotions since interventions in 2022. However, he was unapologetic about his personality, stating bluntly, “I am who I am.”

 

 

Source: Nola