Candidates were queuing up inside the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse Wednesday morning, catching an early start to qualifying for a slew of judgeships and other political posts.
Among them, defense attorney and former Orleans Parish prosecutor Lionel “Lon” Burns said he was gearing up for a run against District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
Early to the game was indicted Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, whose Section E seat has been the focus of a legal battle playing out in Baton Rouge over whether it still exists.
Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell said that with King’s qualification, the race is on, regardless of how that court fight, pressed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office, plays out.
He argued that once a candidate qualifies for office, they have a right to run for it, citing the state election code — although state law also allows a seven-day period to challenge a candidate’s qualifications.
King is under indictment for allegedly lying about where she lived when she submitted a New Orleans address for her domicile in running for the seat last year.
Niki Roberts, an assistant district attorney in the juvenile division, also filed to qualify for King’s seat.
Also there was local attorney Nakisha Ervin-Knott, who said she’s gunning for the seat now held by Civil District Judge Lloyd Medley Jr.
Attorney Janet Ahern, former director of CourtWatch Nola, submitted her papers to run for the Civil District Court seat vacated when Judge Michael Bagneris stepped down to run against Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
That seat is now dedicated to family law cases, and several others were expected to enter the race.
Byron C. Williams submitted his papers to run for the Section G criminal court seat now held by District Judge Julian Parker, who has been on sick leave. Parker has not said whether he will run for re-election.
Municipal Court Judge Paul Sens said Tuesday night that he will enter that race.
Incumbents in criminal court were early to the table on Tuesday. Among those on line to qualify were Chief Judge Benedict Willard and judges Camille Buras, Arthur Hunter, Keva Landrum-Johnson and Darryl Derbigny.
Qualifying runs through 4:30 p.m. Friday. A listing of candidates is available at the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.