Louisiana prosecutors charge Black judge who criticized justice system with bias
A Black judge in Louisiana who reprimanded prosecutors for being racially biased has now had the tables turned and been hit with a bias complaint herself.
According to USA Today, this week, two state judges will begin hearing arguments over whether 16th Judicial District Court Judge Lori Landry should be recused from more than 300 criminal cases.
Initially, Landry reprimanded prosecutors for the disproportionately high rate of incarceration for Black citizens in Louisiana and as a result, has been accused of bias by the district attorney’s office.
Although members of the community believe the judge is being targeted for speaking out against injustice, Assistant District Attorney Robert Vines, has filed a 27-page motion, arguing the judge, who is African American, should be removed from the cases in question because she is “is biased or prejudiced against this office such that she cannot be fair or impartial.”
According to the recusal motion, Landry believes the DA’s office systemically incarcerates Black people more harshly and at a higher rate than others, and has even accused prosecutors of improper motivations to engage in what she characterizes as “trickery.”
“This is a violation of the constitutional rights of the people who elected me,” Landry is quoted saying last month during a hearing.
“We know of the trickery and injustice that is happening in the 16th JDC with this very targeted, bullying, and racist tactic to have Judge Landry removed from hearing all criminal cases in the 16th JDC because she does not want to play jump rope or be friends with the DA Office,” resident Robby Carrier-Bethel posted on Facebook. “Judge Landry is honorable, and a woman of God that has brought compassion, Integrity and judicial fairness with her to the bench (something all of them should have).”
“It’s despicable that just because the district attorney’s office can’t get their way that they’re going to decide, ‘Well we want you to be removed.’ Like he has that much power,” said Khadijah Rashad, who helped organize nearly 100 of Landry’s supporters to protest the DA’s actions on the steps of the Iberia Parish Courthouse earlier this month .
But Vines, who is white, maintains that the judge has “engaged in abusive, inappropriate and/or bullying behavior” toward prosecutors, staff of the district attorney’s office, victims and witnesses.