On Thursday, June 13, 2024, The Advocate published an editorial criticizing several judges serving in East Baton Rouge Parish’s 19th Judicial District Court.

The editorial focused on recent controversies surrounding three judges. First, it discussed Judge Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts, who was elected in 2020. Foxworth-Roberts had claimed during her campaign that she served in three wars and achieved the rank of captain in the Army. However, the Louisiana Judiciary Commission found her military records did not support these claims after obtaining them in April. Foxworth-Roberts will have a hearing before the Commission in October.

Next, the editorial analyzed Judge Eboni Johnson Rose and some dubious rulings. In March, she convicted a former Baton Rouge police officer of “misdemeanor grade” malfeasance in office at a bench trial, but Louisiana law does not include such a charge. Over three weeks later, Johnson Rose acknowledged the mistake and found the man not guilty. In another case, she initially handed down an illegally lenient sentence for aggravated arson before correcting it. Additionally, the Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated a not guilty verdict after Johnson Rose met with jurors who said they meant to convict the defendant of a lesser charge.

Finally, the editorial discussed Judge Gail Horne Ray. The Supreme Court accused her of “a patent abuse of discretion” for overturning a man’s 50-year-old rape conviction without a defense request to review it. Ray decided the original trial judge’s instructions to the jury were incorrect.

In closing, the editorial argued the people of East Baton Rouge deserve judges whose decisions are grounded in law and who display integrity and competence, which are especially important given recent attacks on legal institutions. It maintained litigants expecting fair hearings from honest jurists in the 19th JDC are not getting that currently. The editorial called for improvement regarding the leadership of the district court.



Source: The Advocate