Thank you for allowing citizens to express their views regarding the candidates for the 26th Judicial District Court. Although I differ with Graves in some areas, I am voting for Graves in this runoff.Whit Graves has a broad scope of personal and professional experiences which gives him a perspective rarely found among judges. In a conservative parish with disdain for the criminal element, it has become almost cliche for judicial candidates to express their toughness on crime. But Graves doesn’t merely talk the “tough on crime” talk. He has walked that talk as a law enforcement officer, experiencing first-hand the difficult and dangerous job that no one truly comprehends unless they have been in uniformed patrol. As a former law enforcement officer, Graves no doubt fully understands the bitter and frustrating reality of prosecutors in district attorney’s offices who with shocking frequency plea bargain or nolle prosequi, or simply allow every manner of criminal and DWI case to die from inaction. While a judge cannot fix issues such as these which exist in the Bossier/Webster District Attorney’s Office, a judge who is independent of direct ties to the current DA’s office will be far better suited to adjudicate cases fairly and impartially.
While both candidates’ campaign finance reports show a variety of donor sources, there appears to be a disproportionate number of contributions to Nerren from career politicians and others in the entrenched Bossier/Webster political establishment. This establishment not only defines Bossier Parish, but also keeps our parish divided into those with political influence, and those without. Justice often seems skewed in favor of those who wield the influence. And the fear of retaliation from those in power is not mere paranoia. It is based upon real-life examples of what can happen to someone who incurs the wrath of those who broker true power in Bossier and Webster Parishes, particularly prosecutorial or judicial power. This bitter reality will only change by electing to office candidates such as Whit Graves, who are not christened into elected positions because they’ve developed tenure-like time as loyal employees of political players.Finally, in a perfect world, judges are impartial. But judges are human, and bring to the job their own biases and philosophies, which are by nature, shaped by personal and professional experiences. Unlike Nerren, Graves’ experiences are not shaped by any relationship with the current District Attorney’s Office or any other political entity in Bossier Parish. I believe it is vital to keep the integrity of the 26th Judicial District court system free from political influence as much as possible. In a sense, Graves is an outsider, a welcome, refreshing and sorely needed identity for the Bossier and Webster Parish judicial system.
- Evodna Springer
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