Longtime Baton Rouge City Court Judge Suzan Ponder confirmed Monday she's retiring June 30 but said her decision had nothing to do with the fact she recently interviewed for the post of U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge.
"The two are not related," the 63-year-old Republican said in a telephone interview.
Ponder, a former East Baton Rouge assistant district attorney from 1983-88, has sat since 1993 on the City Court bench, presiding over its sobriety court for the past seven years.
"It's just time for me to retire. I've been there 24 years," she said. "I've loved my job. I've thoroughly enjoyed it."
Her term doesn't expire until the end of 2018. A special election to fill the unexpired term will be held Oct. 14. The candidate qualifying period will be July 12-14.
Ponder, who is married to lawyer Warren Ponder, said she is retiring for personal reasons unrelated to the unfilled U.S. attorney position in Baton Rouge. Ponder did not say with whom she interviewed for the post.
The hunt for U.S. attorneys across the nation is into its fourth month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested that all the top federal prosecutors appointed under Democratic President Barack Obama's administration submit their resignations.
Walt Green, the former U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge, resigned in March. The acting U.S. attorney is Corey Amundson, who served under Green as the first assistant U.S. attorney and head of the office's criminal division.
Names mentioned as possible replacements for Green include lawyers C. Frank Holthaus, Michael S. Walsh, Michael Reese Davis, Bradley C. Myers and Brandon Fremin. Davis, Myers and Fremin are former federal prosecutors. Fremin currently heads the state Attorney General's Office's criminal division.
The White House last week sent nominations to the U.S. Senate for U.S. attorney positions in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and Utah. Nominees for the top federal prosecutor posts must be approved by the Senate. U.S. senators of the same party as the president typically forward recommendations to the administration.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is taking the lead in the search for the next U.S. attorney in the Baton Rouge-based Middle District of Louisiana while U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is taking a more active role in selection the next chief federal prosecutor for the New Orleans-based Eastern District. Cassidy has appointed a panel to help him vet potential nominees. Kennedy is doing his own vetting.