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Story Archives: Judge Boothe to seek rehearing in Supreme Court case
|Judge Boothe to seek rehearing in Supreme Court case|
Seventh Judicial District Division B Judge Leo Boothe said today he will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court for a rehearing to address its ruling last week suspending him from office for one year.
The high court rejected a recommendation by the Judiciary Commission that Boothe be removed from office.
In its 70-page report, the commission accused Boothe of misconduct in the case of James Skipper of Ferriday, who was convicted in 2002 on drug charges. Skipper's sentence was later reduced and Skipper freed.
In the Supreme Court ruling on Jan. 29, the court found that "certain charges against Judge Boothe were proven by clear and convincing evidence; however, we reject the recommendation that he be removed from office..."
In a 39-page ruling the court found that Boothe engaged in improper ex parte communication in his correspondence to Skipper and that the judge should have recused himself from the case
In dissenting, two justices indicated that the case against Boothe was based on political differences and "alleged bad faith" between he and Seventh Judicial District Division A Judge Kathy Johnson.
Boothe was ordered to pay the cost of the investigation and prosecution of the case totaling $11,731.79.
"I'm thankful to the Supreme Court for rejecting the Judiciary Commission recommendation to remove me from office which is the first time in the history of the commission that this has happened," Boothe said today.
"I'm also extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and constituents. I intend to pursue a rehearing of this matter and am confident that the correct result will eventually prevail."
The judge has until Feb. 13 to seek a rehearing, according to Valerie Williard, Deputy Judicial Administrator for the Supreme Court. Otherwise his one-year suspension will go into affect, she said.
Williard said if the suspension goes into effect the Supreme Court will appoint an interim judge to serve until Boothe returns to the bench.
Boothe is 70 years old and due to his age can not seek another term. His present term ends December 31, 2014.
Justices Jeannette Theriot Knoll and Marcus R. Clark dissented.
Knoll wrote that she did not believe Boothe's conduct "warrants sanctions."
Additionally, she noted that "any claims regarding the alleged bad faith between Judge Boothe and Judge (Kathy) Johnson as motivation for Judge Boothe's alleged misconduct are not worthy of this Court's consideration. We sanction judges for actions taken or not taken in accordance with the law as proven by clear and convincing evidence and should pay no heed to petty squabbles based merely on speculation and extrapolations."
Clark, in dissenting, wrote: "The entirety of the case against Judge Boothe is based on loose allegations about his desire to advance his own political agenda or negatively affect that of Judge Johnson. It appears that a substantial amount of the claims was self-attributed to rumor and hearsay -- none of which can satisfy the high burden of producing clear and convincing evidence."
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