The Times published an article this morning regarding the recent judge’s election and quoted Mike Craig as saying that he is not the DA’s man.
“It was a general perception that was fed on by my opponent ... It was meant to be portrayed as negative but there’s no truth to it,” Craig said. “I’ve only been employed by Mr. Marvin (District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin) since 2005, so it certainly got blown out of proportion by the media ... Everyone in the legal community knew it was bunk.”
The issue that keeps popping up is whether or not Schuyler Marvin used this race, with or without Craig’s complicity, to increase his own power base.
“I do know some issues have arisen between the incumbent (Burchett) and myself regarding sentences handed down that I was more than displeased with,” Marvin told The Times in September. “I was even quoted by the media as being publicly disappointed in some of his sentences and, for that reason, my name keeps coming up.”
Well, that and the fact that Marvin donated $1,000 to Craig’s campaign and attended a campaign fundraising event, plus general knowledge that his employees were very actively campaigning for Craig.
I recently posted an article entitled Term Limits for District Judges? in which I noted that
“Recent events have created a lot of uneasiness among members of the legal profession in Bossier and Webster Parishes. Talk to some of them and you can sense the feeling of discontent and apprehension.I’m referring, of course, to the race for District Judge in which Mike Craig defeated 20 year veteran Dewey Burchett. It was more than a hard-fought race; it was a bitter race to the end. The DA’s influence definitely came into play. I’m not saying that he ‘ran’ Mike Craig in a move to increase his own power base, but it cannot be denied that Schuyler Marvin has some stroke with the voters. Burchett supporters are wondering what treatment they will receive in the courtroom. The other judges realize that they could be next. Other parish officials are sitting on the sidelines taking notes.”
I was accused by a commenter of ‘fearmongering’, but that was not the case. I was just writing what I have seen and heard daily. Apparently my observations are not imaginary.
Judge Bruce Bolin was the only judge to respond to The Times requests for comments. He said “It’s not fair, whereas I felt the district attorney was allowed to be wide open and support people, spend money, influence, we can do nothing. I really am kind of afraid to say anything to you — it’s that bad — other than say we’re very disappointed (on the way Marvin’s office contributed to the race).”
Bolin later submitted an e-mail reply for clarification, which read in part: “The system will not work if judges allow any particular group, whether it’s the plaintiff lawyers, defense lawyers, or the district attorney, to pressure judges into deciding cases for immediate political gain.”
I also wrote "I believe that when Mike Craig becomes Judge Craig, he can do a lot to allay the fears and to restore equilibrium to the process, and I am confident that he will."
I think that he is attempting to do this, but he should drop the line that "it certainly got blown out of proportion by the media ... Everyone in the legal community knew it was bunk." Everyone in the legal community, and more importantly, in the general public, does not know this. He needs to be content with saying "there’s no truth to it".
Mike Craig needs to realize that a lot of people are troubled, that these anxieties are real, and whether fair or unfair, only he can put a stop to it.
Again, we have confidence that he will.