On Monday, July 3, 2023, the Advocate reported that a Justice of the Peace in Pointe Coupee crossed boundaries by assuming the dual roles of a judicial officer and a law enforcement operative. The reports reveal that Justice of the Peace J. Randy Guidroz was employed as an undercover officer by the Sheriff’s Office, tasked with monitoring the very individuals who placed their trust in him within the courtroom.

The  Louisiana Judiciary Commission’s filings assert that Guidroz failed to recognize the improper appearance he created by earning a significant income from the Sheriff’s Office while simultaneously surveilling constituents who had elected him to serve as an impartial dispenser of justice.

Justices of the peace in Louisiana typically work part-time and have jurisdiction over civil cases under $5,000. However, Guidroz’s misconduct extended beyond his dual roles. The Louisiana Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide his fate, received filings stating that Guidroz attempted to intervene in a domestic violence case involving the son of a friend and fellow justice of the peace. According to the filings, he contacted his employer and a prosecutor in an effort to secure the release of the friend’s son and prevent him from facing charges or having his parole revoked.

During the proceedings, Guidroz initially claimed that he believed he had done nothing wrong, citing his history of helping people. However, he later expressed remorse and apologized to the Judiciary Commission, acknowledging that he had learned his lesson. Nevertheless, the commission found that as a judicial officer with over two decades of experience, Guidroz should have been aware of the impropriety of his actions. The commission also emphasized the problematic nature of Guidroz’s employment with the sheriff.

Over a span of 12 years, Guidroz received approximately $43,000 annually from the Sheriff’s Office, amounting to over $516,000 in total. He also enjoyed additional benefits such as a vehicle, a clothing allowance, and pension contributions. However, a 2020 report by WBRZ revealed that the Sheriff’s Office lacked documentation of Guidroz performing any work for which he was compensated during this period. Notably, Guidroz had previously received a confidential admonishment from the Judiciary Commission in 2020 for failing to adhere to proper recusal rules and for using regular mail instead of certified mail to serve clients with notices of hearing dates. The Louisiana Supreme Court’s rule changes in 2020 allowed certain judicial misconduct cases, including past admonishments, to become public.

 

Source: The Advocate