ALEXANDRIA, La., (The Advertiser) — A retired Rapides Parish judge will hear the more than 300 requests to have an African American judge removed from her criminal cases after she accused prosecutors of mistreating black defendants.
The Louisiana Supreme Court ordered retired Judge Harry F. Randow to preside over the motions seeking to remove 16th Judicial District Court Judge Lori Landry from the criminal cases. The motions were filed by 16th Judicial District Attorney Bo Duhé, who has argued she is biased, unfair and hostile toward his prosecutors and to others.
The district attorney’s office filed the nearly identical motions seeking to have Landry removed from the hundreds of criminal cases randomly assigned to her and in some cases where there was a conviction.
Landry refused to remove herself from the cases, which meant another judge from the district would have to rule in each case whether she should have to step down. The cases were being assigned to judges randomly. Hearings with evidence were scheduled for December.
Supreme Court Justice John L. Weimer appointed Randow for “purposes of judicial efficiency, despite the willingness of the judges of the 16th Judicial District to adjudicate such matters.” Randow will hear all of the motions, but a date for that hearing has not yet been set.
Randow was appointed to the Ninth Judicial District in 1997 and served until 2014. Before that, he was in private practice in Alexandria.
Landry, an African-American woman, has accused the district attorney’s office of incarcerating African Americans more harshly and at a higher rate than others, according to the motion filed by prosecutors. The judge has suggested prosecutors have improper motivations and engage in “trickery.”
First Assistant District Attorney Robert Vines, who is white, argued in the motion that Landry has “engaged in abusive, inappropriate and/or bullying behavior” toward prosecutors, staff of the district attorney’s office, victims and witnesses.
While the requests to have Landry removed make their way through the court system, Duhé said his office and defense attorneys are working to make sure things were still moving as smoothly as possible for any defendant caught up in the clash.