Three attorneys are vying for the 18th Judicial District Court Division A judge seat, located in Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes. Election day is Saturday, Oct. 14.
Kevin Kimball, Lonny Guidroz and Steve Marionneaux all hope to take the place of Judge James Best after his recent retirement.
In interviews, all three Democratic candidates said that juvenile justice would be their top priority if elected.
Kimball has worked as a lawyer for 28 years, including 10 years as a juvenile indigent defender for the 18th JDC, according to his announcement for candidacy, published in April this year. A resident of West Baton Rouge Parish, Kimball has practiced family law and real estate law for 28 years and has experience with personal injury law as well.
“The biggest issue facing our community is juvenile issues,” Kimball said. “I think we need to look at the problem where it starts. It’s not something that I alone, as a judge, can fix, but I’m going to promise you, I’m going to work hard.”
Kimball said he would like to see the judicial district reimplement the Family in Need of Service program, FINS.
Marionneaux, a Livonia resident, has practiced law as an assistant district attorney in the 18th JDCfor 34, according to his biography. He has also served as an attorney for municipal governments in Fordoche, Livonia and Maringouin and a legal counsel for similar government bodies.
“There is one issue out there that’s paramount to every household and that is juvenile crime. It’s certainly on the uptick,” Marionneaux said.
Marionneaux said he would like to see improved adjudication of juvenile crime. The current juvenile justice system is broken and allows youth the opportunity to commit new crimes before being adjudicated for previous ones, he said.
Guidroz, a resident of Pointe Coupee Parish, currently serves the 18th JDC as an assistant district attorney and has practiced law for more than 20 years, according to a candidacy announcement, published in March this year. He currently prosecutes child support enforcement, has aided local police through the seizure of drug dealer’s assets and has also represented local government bodies.
“Property crime in Pointe Coupee Parish and the Erwinville area is rampant and it’s supposedly committed by juveniles,” Guidroz said. “That is the largest criminal activity in the area right now.”
A major issue in the 18th JDC is its lack of a juvenile detention center, Guidroz said.
“By the time they are arrested, they have nowhere to go,” Guidroz said. “The state doesn’t have any facilities to house them in the pre-adjudication period. If they are found guilty the state has to accept them.”