Voters should consider a potential judge’s legal knowledge, experience, judicial temperament, and his or her history of public/community service. Good temperament for a judge is someone who displays patience, compassion, and decisiveness, and someone who can apply the law free from bias and with a commitment to equal justice.
During my 44 years as an attorney, I have represented countless clients pro bono. Unfortunately, all citizens do not have adequate access to legal assistance and the legal system. Access may be improved by providing adequate funding to the public defender’s office and Legal Aid offices that provide legal services to pro se litigants.
The factors that would be considered in granting and setting bail amounts for defendants include the seriousness of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the individual, any previous criminal record, the ability of the individual to post bail, whether the individual is already out on bail, any danger that may be posed by the release of the individual, and any other relevant factors considering the case. All of the factors would be considered as a whole when determining whether to grant and setting a bail amount.
The War on Drugs, which focused on criminalization and mass incarceration, has been ineffective in reducing the availability and use of illicit drugs and criminal drug organizations. Regarding mandatory sentences for any offense, I believe that the laws should be geared more towards allowing the judiciary the discretion to fashion a sentence that is appropriate for each individual case.
Regarding the growing problem of overcrowding in the Louisiana’s prison system, it is the responsibility of the judge to simply apply the law fairly and equally in the cases before him or her. The execution of the sentence and housing of those sentenced comes under the purview of the executive and legislative branches of government.