New Orleans Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interest in Mayoral Recall Effort

Jennifer Medley is one of many citizens who appear fed up with the crime and poor management of New Orleans. Medley reportedly joined thousands of others in signing a petition to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. As a single mom working in the city, she has good reason to be concerned. However, Medley is also a judge. Indeed, she is the very judge that just ruled on the recall effort without disclosing that her name is one of those seeking the recall.

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Medley ruled recently in favor of an agreement to reduce the recall threshold by 5,000 names. However, back in December, she was one of those who signed the petition.

The parties were apparently unaware that she was ruling on a petition that she signed. Judge Medley previously also ruled for recall organizers in rejecting a motion to dismiss and barring election officials from questioning recall organizer Eileen Carter on the number of signatures that the organizers collected.

There is no question that Medley should have revealed her status as a petitioner and, in my view, she should have recused herself from the matter.

The conflict of interest contravenes a number of provisions in the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct, including Canon 1 requiring judges to uphold the independence and integrity of the court system.

It also contravened Canon 2 in failing to “avoid Impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.”

It also contravened Canon 3 in failing act impartially. This canon clearly mandates a recusal in this case by mandating the following:

“C. Recusation. A judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned and shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which disqualification is required by law or applicable Supreme Court rule. In all other instances, a judge should not recuse himself or herself.”

The conflict of interest also clearly contravened Canon 5 in my view:

Extra-Judicial Activities

A Judge Shall Regulate Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Duties

A. Avocational Activities. A judge may write, lecture, teach, and speak on non-legal subjects, and engage in the arts, sports, and other social and recreational activities, if such avocational activities do not detract from the dignity of judicial office or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.

B. Civic and Charitable Activities.  A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon his or her impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.”

I do not believe that Medley should have ever signed the petition given the potential conflict with cases involving the mayor coming before her.

One could debate the propriety of Judge Medley in signing such a petition, but there should be no debate on her need to disclose that she is an interested party in the matter.

Judge Medley ran on a pledge that “as a single, working mother, Jennifer knows the crucial role the court plays in our lives.” Yet, part of that crucial role is impartiality and avoiding even the appearance of bias or conflicts of interest. That was not done in this case.

15 thoughts on “New Orleans Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interest in Mayoral Recall Effort”

  1. Lots going on here. The Mayor’s forces have been playing tricks with how many ‘real’ voters are on the roles. (NOW this is an issue?), rather the signors were actual residents, (I signed that petition, they went through excrucuating details to assure it was legitimant.), noting that most of the signers were white (we’re outnumbered, receive few services but still count for SOMETHING besides paying the bills [I naively thought}).
    The judge probably should have disclosed but it pales in comparison to the tricks played here on a regular basis. I actually voted for this mayor, useless as she is. Better incompentent than corrupt? HG, New Orleans

  2. 50 shades of a trans/homosexual judge overriding minorities and other protected classes in Democrats’ choice.

  3. Unless this judge is the only judge on the relevant court … IMHO, she has a “right” to sign such a petition, but must recuse herself.

  4. What would be left if there were zero tolerance for corruption and if corruption were prosecuted high and low?

    Oh, yeah, Real President Donald J. Trump.

    Oh, heck no, the election was not stolen, the FBI simply colluded with communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO, AINO) media to withhold salient and critical Hunter Biden et al. election news and data, States violated their own constitutions, constitutional requirements related to a “day” and a “place” for elections were voided and ignored, etc., etc., etc.

    Whatever will happen if what “…we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,” per Admiral Yamamoto?

    Whatever will happen if actual Americans get “woke?”

  5. Judge Medley ran on a pledge that “as a single, working mother, Jennifer knows the crucial role the court plays in our lives.” Yet, part of that crucial role is impartiality and avoiding even the appearance of bias or conflicts of interest.

  6. Politicians are not Judges….unless the Seat on the Bench is an elected position as it is in so many places in this Country.

    The Judge should not have sat on the Hearings for sure.

    He signing of the Petition does seem a First Amendment Right issue as the mere signing of a petition in support of an issue alone…..does not arise to some sort of political activism.

    In the scheme of things in Louisiana….her Faux Pax of singing the petition is very small potatoes…..whereas her sitting on the. case is more questionable even if her Rulings were in full conformance to the Law.

    After all she did not act as an Advocate for the Petition in Court but rather heard the Case as any other case….as apparently there has not been an accusation of actual misconduct.

    The loser in the Court Case….the Mayor I presume….has ever opportunity to file an Appeal in those Decisions by the Judge.

    Perhaps the Judge might take the High Road now and Recuse herself from any other Decisions and pass the Case to another Judge.

    I am sure if there were any skeletons in the Judge’s closet the Mayor would have had them on public display by now.

  7. Par for the course. Now Cantrell will slime her way into keeping her job (lost in this is that the suit [and compromise] was necessary was because the Orleans Parish Registrar’s voting rolls are so screwed up, no one knows how many actual voters there are to know the number of signatures need to qualify). Of course she should have disclosed; however, wouldn’t a judge that declined to sign because they were against the recall be in the same boat?

  8. Um, this is Louisiana. S.O.P. Of course, the Feds have out-corrupted Louisiana in recent decades and that’s pretty bad.

  9. Probably not the worst way to move up the biden admin’s list of potential federal bench nominees.

    The judge should simply make the recall agreement say it needs 5,001 fewer signatures and strike her name from the petition.

  10. A gutsy move by the judge. I agree she was acting in the public interest to sign the petition but she should recuse herself. We can’t have the side of light do questionable things when we know they are wrong otherwise we invalidate ourselves and our arguments for justice. In this case a variant of a saying, “what is right for one goose is right for the other goose”.

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