Louisiana Supreme Court suspends Judge Boothe for one year
posted Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 @ 5:14 pm
The Louisiana Supreme Court has suspended Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Leo Boothe from office for a period of one year without pay.
The decision was announced on the Supreme Court's website. The full 39-page ruling has been placed online at www.lasc.org.
Judges Jeannette Theriot Knoll and Marcus R. Clark dissented.
The court ordered Boothe to pay the cost of the investigation and prosecution of the case totaling $11,731.79.
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..."
The Judiciary Commission had previously recommended that Boothe be removed from office. In a 70-page report, the commission accused Boothe of misconduct involving the case of James Skipper of Ferriday, who was convicted in 2002 on drug charges. Skipper's sentence was later reduced and Skipper freed.
Boothe is presently 70 years old and due to his age can not seek another term. His present term ends on December 31, 2014.
In dissenting, Knoll wrote that she did not belief 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."
Boothe can appeal the ruling.