While the criminal case against Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King drags on, one thing is clear, her attorney said Thursday: King will fight to keep her elected seat on the bench.
She is planning to seek a second term later this year, lawyer Clarence Roby Jr. said.
“Of course she is. I don’t know why anyone would speculate she wouldn’t,” Roby said after a court hearing Thursday that was short on drama. “It’s a little concept of due process.”
Retired Judge Michael Kirby, appointed to preside over King’s case after the Orleans Criminal District Court judges all recused themselves, delayed the proceedings to allow the state and federal government to respond to Roby’s requests for documents and audio and video surveillance tapes developed by investigators.
Prosecutors allege that King lied about where she lived in a sworn affidavit she used to qualify in February 2013 for the Juvenile Court seat that Tracey Flemings-Davillier vacated midterm to take a seat on the criminal court bench.
King faces two counts — one felony and one misdemeanor — for allegedly falsifying her papers when she listed a New Orleans domicile, despite having a homestead exemption on a property in Slidell. She has maintained her innocence.
State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office secured an indictment against King in March, nearly a year after she overcame similar allegations on the campaign trail to score a surprising win in her fifth try for a judgeship.
King took the bench for several weeks following the indictment, but she hasn’t sat there since mid-May, when the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered her suspended pending the outcome of the criminal indictment.
In the meantime, Mayor Mitch Landrieu scored a win at the State Capitol this year with passage of a bill that will shrink the city’s Juvenile Court by two judges at year’s end — legislation that appears tailored to make King one of the two disappearing judges if she can’t clear her name by then.
King refused to respond to questions Thursday.
During the hearing, Roby said the fact he’s seeking documents from an FBI investigation does not mean King is the target of that probe. “The information I’m requesting of the federal government is not concerning Ms. King being investigated by any federal agency,” he said.
In a failed challenge to King’s suspension by the state high court, a different attorney for the judge cited an FBI investigation that he said “involved Judge King being threatened with criminal prosecution and a Judicial Commission investigation if she did not meet the demands being met by the FBI targets.”
An FBI spokeswoman Thursday declined to comment, saying the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations.
State prosecutor Sonceree Clark declined to comment after the brief hearing.
Roby complained to the judge that while Caldwell’s office opened its file on King to him, records in it made reference to other documents and tapes that Roby said he hasn’t received.
Kirby did not set a trial date in the case, instead saying he wanted to give the two sides more time to work out the issues about producing evidence.