The Louisiana Supreme Court has appointed former prosecutor Graham Bosworth to fill the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court seat of retired Judge Frank Marullo until an election is held later this year to fill the rest of the six-year term.
Bosworth, 37, made a failed bid for the same seat in 2014 after his supporters failed in a challenge to Marullo’s eligibility to run.
Although the state constitution sets a judicial age limit of 70, Marullo claimed an exemption to run at 74. He defeated Bosworth and Marie Williams, but he then was sidelined by the Supreme Court as the state Judiciary Commission weighed whether the longest-serving judge in the state was too old to remain on the bench.
Marullo retired at the end of 2015 rather than wait out the legal drama. His Section D seat has since been occupied by a rotating cast of retired judges — Calvin Johnson, Dennis Waldron and, most recently, Jerome Winsberg.
The Supreme Court in March tapped prominent New Orleans defense attorney John Fuller to fill the seat on a more permanent basis through the end of the year. But Fuller bowed out soon after he took on the high-profile defense of Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing former Saints defensive standout Will Smith.
Chief Justice Bernette Johnson signed the order Thursday for Bosworth to serve as pro tem judge from July 1 through the end of the year, or until the vacancy is filled.
Under Supreme Court rules, such appointees cannot practice law while sitting on the bench, nor can they qualify as a candidate for judicial office for a year following the end of an appointment.
A primary election to fill the remainder of Marullo’s six-year term is slated for Nov. 8, with a runoff scheduled for Dec. 10. Qualifying begins July 20.
Bosworth said Friday he had intended to run for the Section D seat in the fall but decided against it with the impending birth of his second child.
Bosworth was first hired by former District Attorney Eddie Jordan and worked for five years as a prosecutor, mostly in the appellate division. He’s been a defense attorney since 2010, including as a contract public defender in Jefferson Parish.
During his 2014 campaign, Bosworth said he wanted to bring an end to a cattle-call approach to criminal cases in Orleans Parish, where judges often sort out their daily dockets on the fly.
His goals in the temporary position are more modest, he said: “to be able to get in and start that process and try to help Criminal District Court over the next six months, and try to be an asset.”
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