Soft-on-crime Judge Trudy White is right in the middle of the tragic death of 41-year old Zachary police officer Christopher Lawton Monday night. Lawton’s alleged killer, 33-year-old Albert Franklin, has been the beneficiary of White’s well-established history of being lax with criminals.
Franklin now sits in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, charged with first-degree murder of Lawton. Late Monday, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Lawton was killed while working undercover with another Zachary police officer searching for Franklin, who was wanted on active warrants for aggravated second-degree battery, felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm. This is not the first time Franklin has apparently tried to kill someone. His extensive criminal history include an arrest on counts of attempted second-degree murder.
Zachary Police Chief David McDavid told WAFB-TV in December that Franklin had been a problem for the people of his city for quite some time.
"We got numerous complaints on this individual in the area selling drugs in the area, cars coming and going out of his place," McDavid told WAFB.
What especially angered McDavid is the soft treatment Franklin has received from White. In November, Franklin was pulled over in a traffic stop, and officers said they found drugs and a gun. He was charged with possession and distribution of manufactured Schedule I drugs, possession and distribution of Schedule II drugs, possession of a firearm with drugs, felon in possession of firearm, resisting an officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, improper lane usage, and failure to signal, according to WAFB.
A commissioner originally set Franklin’s bond at $88,000. But the next day, White reduced Franklin’s bond to only $9,000. Franklin bonded out the next day, WAFB reported.
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Two people were arrested after a Zachary firefighter and part-time, volunteer police officer was run over by a vehicle and killed Monday night…
But what’s really shocking is that just one month earlier, Franklin was arrested for possession of drugs and traffic charges. In that case, he appeared before White, and she set his bond at only $3,500. Franklin’s arrest in September was one of five for 2017. His chronic criminal ways are without dispute, and yet even after multiple arrests in 2017, and multiple appearances before White, she lowered his bail from $88,000 to only $9,000. She had to know Franklin would appear before her again. What could possibly justify her lowering his bail such a significant amount?
"I just will ask Judge White, 'Why are you continuing to let this individual out? Why did you reduce his bond? Did you look at his criminal history and see all the charges he's had before? Did you read the probable cause and see the problems he's causing in the city limits of Zachary?’” McDavid told WAFB-TV in December.
To say White has blood on her hands with the death of Christopher Lawton is not a stretch. Remember, Lawton was serving a search warrant on Franklin.
During her election, White had to apologize after running a campaign commercial featuring a man in an orange prison jumpsuit who promoted her candidacy inside a courtroom.
A Zachary firefighter and reserve police officer was killed Monday night after he was run over by a man he was trying to arrest, becoming the …
The man said, ”I'm down here at the 19th, but check this out, I ain't gonna be here that long 'cause Judge Trudy White is fixin' to send me back home. So if you want somebody to show you some love, vote for Trudy White on November the 4th.”
White was clearly selling herself to voters as a judge who will help criminals get back on the street earlier. And she has consistently lived up to that campaign promise. Tragically, Christopher Lawton’s death comes at the hands of one of the violent career criminals with which White was so lenient.
Last year, White mysteriously disappeared from the bench for three months. She suddenly reappeared in March, refusing to explain herself. The Louisiana Supreme Court appointed a replacement during her hiatus.
It is well past time for the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Bar Association to take action against White. She should be removed from the bench before another life is lost.
Email Dan Fagan at firstname.lastname@example.org.