Senator files complaint with La. Supreme Court over fundraiser
Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton
Judge Janice Clark (File photo)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
A fundraising loophole allows Louisiana lawyers to host
campaign events for judges, so one state lawmaker wants to tighten up the way
judges can raise money.
Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said a
fundraiser last week by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark did not
make the judicial side of government look good. Adley said he is concerned
attorneys having cases before the very judges they are giving money to does not
pass the smell test.
"It appears to me that when
people are passing money from one hand to the next in the middle of a trial,
that doesn't look good," said Adley. "There is nothing that stops
judges from raising money in the middle of a court proceeding. That perception
is extremely bad."
Adley said he is referring to Wade
Shows, whose name appeared as a host on the invitation. The event, which
suggested a $250 donation, was held at a Baton Rouge restaurant.
"I was asked to be on the host
committee long before I was assigned that case," said Shows. "I did
not go to the event nor have I given Judge Clark any donations."
However, Adley has filed a complaint
with the Louisiana Supreme Court.
"It clearly is an attempt to
influence the outcome of the current case before Judge Clark's court," the
He said he plans on taking care of
this issue in the legislature.
"If this is going to be an
ongoing problem, it becomes very clear that the court is not policing itself.
And, if they are not going to police themselves, then somehow the legislature
has to intervene." Adley added.
The outspoken senator from north
Louisiana said during the special ethics session a few years back, the judges
convinced the legislature they needed to be independent.
"The judges were able to argue
their way, saying, ‘We are a separate independent branch of government and
constitutionally, you cannot pull us into your ethics.' Now, of course, we
could say, ‘Yes, we believe we can,' but then you have to go to their court for
them to disagree with themselves," Adley explained.
Judge Janice Clark did not return
messages for comment.