Friday, November 30, 2012

RPEC meeting gets heated

The Bossier Parish Republican Executive committee met yesterday to discuss the endorsement of Whit Graves by the State Republican Party. Both Mike Nerren and Whit Graves were present. I'm told that the proceedings got a little heated at times.
The end result was a vote to send a letter to Baton Rouge asking the state party to either rescind the endorsement of Graves or to endorse Nerren also.
I don't know that the electorate at large is paying much attention. This is primarily stuff for the politicians and for political geeks who enjoy the inner workings of the system.
Bismarck once said that 'laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made'. This is the sausage making of the election process.
If the state party does take action, Mr. Nerren won't have much time to take advantage of it, but with the election just a week away I don't think it will affect the results one way or the other. Personally, I believe that most people know who they are going to vote for at this point, and the folks who go out to vote in an election for just this one office definitely have an opinion.
With all of that said, so far as it goes it is an advantage to Team Nerren.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Bossier/Webster Judge's race: an Update

Since the primary election on November 6th, the race for 26th JDC Judge has taken some twists and turns.
For anyone who is not aware of everything that has happened and is happening, this is an attempt to help you sort it out.
In case you have really been hiding under a rock, the candidates remaining are Michael Nerren. Nerren is an Assistant DA and has a private practice in Bossier City.
Whit Graves is a former State Trooper turned lawyer who served at one time as an Assistant DA, and is now in private practice.
Nerren has the endorsement of DA Schuyler Marvin, Mayor Lo Walker, Marshal Lynn Austin, and other public figures.
Graves has the endorsement of the Louisiana Republican Party.
Eleven years ago Whit Graves was sanctioned by the State Supreme Court for failing to file a sentencing memorandum in a timely manner. He received a nine-month suspension, deferred, and two years supervised probation.
You can read the Opinion here.
Earlier this week, the Nerren campaign sent out a flyer stating that Graves had been suspended. In response, the Graves campaign released this letter from the State Supreme Court.
In the meantime, the Louisiana Republican Party endorsed Whit Graves for the position. The reason was a flyer that had been distributed by Julian Darby prior to the November 6th election. The Nerren campaign paid Darby $2,000, of which at least part was for the flyer.

The State Republican Party didn’t take kindly to issuing campaign material supporting Barack Obama for president, thus their endorsement of Graves.
The Bossier Parish Republican Executive Committee has a meeting scheduled for late next week, but I have no idea if this will be discussed.
I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Whit Graves Endorsed by Republican Party of Louisiana

Whit Graves, candidate for District Judge in the 26th Judicial District in Bossier and Webster parishes, today announced that he has been formally endorsed by the Republican Party of Louisiana.
"I am happy to have earned the support of the Republican Party and look forward to serving all of the people of the 26th District with honor and fairness," Graves said.
Following the primary election in which Mr. Graves' opponent, Mike Nerren, issued payments from his campaign to the owner of a group who produced and distributed a flier supporting liberal Democrat Barack Obama, Mr. Graves is the only candidate who upholds the values and platform of the Republican Party.
Whit Graves has served honorably for 35 years as a decorated state trooper, prosecutor and private attorney. He has spent years serving as a Shriner, helping to ensure critical medical care for our children.
Whit Graves is the most experienced and honest candidate running for District Judge. On December 8, please vote for Whit Graves to be the next District Judge from the 26th Judicial District Court.
(Press release from the Graves campaign)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let's put politics aside for a day and enjoy our families and friends and give thanks for all that we have, and for all of the blessings that we enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Clearing up the rumors

A lot of let's say, less than truthful things have circulated both on this blog and in the public in the race for District Judge. This should clear up at least one of them.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Evodna Springer endorses Whit Graves

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

Make your endorsement for District Judge. Email it to

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roger Baten endorses Mike Nerren

When you are in trouble and you stand before the Judge your one hope is that he will be honest, fair and compassionate. No one exhibits those qualities any better than Mike Nerren. As a young man he excelled at whatever he did whether it be academics or sports. Mike was the consummate teammate. In College he was selected outstanding student of his graduating class and in Law School he excelled. He has spent his career helping others from his many years as a Little League And Youth Baseball coach, to his years working with troubled youth. He has practiced and excelled in all phases of Law, Criminal, Civil, Prosecutor, and Defense. He lives in Benton but his roots go deep into the red clay of Webster Parrish Two Great Grand Fathers a Grand Father and their wives are buried there and relatives to numerous to count live and work there . To me the choice is simple, when you can put a man on the bench you know you can trust why hesitate go to the Polls on Dec 8th and elect Mike Nerren.
- Roger Baten

Make your endorsement for District Judge. Email it to

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jennifer Barringer endorses Mike Nerren

I would like to share why Mike Nerren is my choice for district judge. In my opinion Mike Nerren makes decisions based on what is right and not based on outsiders influences. He does things because its the right thing to do without having to be recognized and let everyone know "he did this" to make himself look good. When my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer she was Mike's secretary. She was unable to continue her full duties in his office due to the side effects of her cancer treatment. Instead of laying her off or cutting her pay he gave her his support throughout this difficult time. He allowed her to ultimately make the decision to quit working due to her illness instead of telling her he wouldn't be able to use her in his office.
My son was rushed to Arkansas Children's hospital when he was 9 days old to undergo emergency heart surgery. The hospital sent their jet to pickup my baby and told us they were only allowed to take one of us with them. They also told me that my baby would get worse before he got better so be prepared for him to go straight into surgery as soon as we landed. This situation would be devistating to any mother or father to know that only one of us would be able to be there with our newborn during this surgery because the other would have to make the drive from Shreveport to Arkansas while it is taking place. When Mike Nerren heard about the situation he made arrangements for my husband to fly to Arkansas and be there when we got there with my son. He did this because it was the right thing to do not because he had to or wanted recognition for it.
These are the reasons I am voting for Mike Nerren. In my opinion it doesn't matter who is else is backing him because I'm not voting for his supporters. I am not a huge fan of Schuyler Marvin which is why he didn't receive my vote in the race for district attorney. I am a huge fan of voting for who will be fair and honest and that is Mike Nerren. He has established this reputation throughout his career and I feel sure it will continue to proceed him as District Judge.

- Jennifer Barringer

Make your endorsement for District Judge. Email it to

Darlene Poole endorses Mike Nerren

Ok here it goes!!!!
I personally know them both. I was Whit's secretary during the time of his suspension, so (I guess you would call me the incompent staff). Come on whit take responsibility for your own actions. If you people would go to the link on the Supreme Court website and read the facts for yourself you will see it was not the fact that he didn't file the brief in a timely manner nor the fact that his so called incompetent staff didn't tell him time and time again about the deadlines that he ignored over and over but the bald face lie he told in open court that he had the documents and was going to file them with the clerk as soon as the hearing was over!
You know this is not the first time whit has blamed his incompent staff ( ME) for this, but I took it the first time because yes he was my boss/friend but NOT NOW ! With friends like that who needs enemies.
As far as Mike Nerren I was his secretary also he never missed a date on filing a brief. He NEVER put the blame on anyone for anything no matter what.
As far as Whit helping the Martins with their child getting into the Shriners, that's what he is supposed to do. HE'S A SHRINER. I know personally the little boy that had to have heart surgery at 9 days old that Mike helped get his father to ACH because the hospital would only fly baby and mother, which mother still recovering from surgery because that was my grandson and thanks to him we were able to be there for his surgery.
I would not expect anything different from either one of them. Go and read for yourself the link then you will know who the one with honesty and integrity.
MIKE NERREN has mine and my family's VOTE!
Everyone makes mistakes - take responsibility for them.

-Darlene Poole

Make your endorsement for District Judge. Email it to

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten easy steps to secession

The Social Media is buzzing with talk of the 'petitions' to secede from the United States.
Didn't work out too well the first time around, but let's take a look at it.
First of all, the 'petitions' are on a White House website that promises that if they get 25,000 signatures on any one petition, the administration will address it.
That would be a no.
In case you want to persist, better start getting prepared.
First, you have to convince the Legislature to call a referendum of all the voters to either vote it up or down.
If that is achieved, then you need to make preparations.
1. Better stock up on stuff. The money you have in the bank is only backed by the good faith of the U.S. government. In other words, you'll be broke.
2. Clean your .22 and your shotgun, you will need them when you march on Barksdale AFB and Ft. Polk to claim those facilities and their equipment for the State of Louisiana. They might put up a fight.
3. Also better be prepared for the U.S. troops that will be headed this way. They did it once before, you know.
4. Also better be prepared to put down the 49% of the people who voted against secession, they might take up arms against you and collaborate with the U.S. forces.
5. Hope you can change your diet rather quickly, because all of those food transports from the 'enemy' will stop immediately.
6. While you're at it, better quickly build some barbed wire internment camps to house all of those Federal officials who are left behind, you know, judges, FBI agents, Federal attorneys, any troops you capture and of course, the traitors among you who remain loyal to the Union.
7. Buy a horse and mule or two, you'll need them when the U.S. forces bomb the refineries in South Louisiana.
8. Get that Navy cranked up pretty quickly, because the Feds will try to land U.S. Marines on the coast. Keep an eye on those Navy Seals too, they are pretty tricky to deal with.
9. Make sure your police forces stay loyal to you, because you will need them. Crime will be rampant. Once there are laws in place defining crime.
10. Keep an eye on the slaves too, because they are apt to rebel. Oh wait, that was last time. My bad.
As an alternative, of course, you could just renounce your citizenship and go into exile in say, Jamaica or somewhere. If they would have you.
Come on people, really? This whole thing is so ridiculous, but I see people whom I had believed to have at least a measure of intelligence discussing it on Facebook and Twitter.
If you are among them, please don't embarass yourself further.

Help a Neighbor

Next Monday, November 19, 2012 the Texas Roadhouse, 1005A Gould Drive in Bossier City, will set aside 10% of a portion of its sales that night to benefit Bossier City Police Detective Brandon Huckaby. Detective Huckaby is recovering from histoplasmosis, an infection in the lungs caused by inhaling the spores of a particular fungus which ended up spreading to his blood and liver. As a result Brandon had to spend three weeks in the hospital last month. He is now recovering at home and is not expected to return to work for a few more months.
The money raise at the November 19th Texas Roadhouse Fundraiser Night will be used to help offset the cost of Brandon’s out of pocket medical expenses.
How you can help:
Between the hours of 4p.m. and 10 p.m. on November 19th have dinner at the Texas Roadhouse and present the attached flyer to your server when you order. You must present the flyer to have your payment counted toward the 10% donation. You can have a printed hard copy or just show it on your mobile phone. 
Please feel free to print/forward as many copies of the flyer as you’d like to family and friends. A number of the flyers will also be available for pick up at the patrol desk in the police department first floor lobby at 620 Benton Road.

Dewey Burchett III endorses Whit Graves

I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words about Whit Graves and why I am supporting him.  As some of your readers may or may not know, my father was a District Judge in Bossier and Webster Parish for 20 years.  It turned out that I knew Whit Graves long before he knew me.  My father and I would eat steaks every Wednesday night together in Benton at my parent’s home.  Most of the time we spent on the porch talking about politics, his court cases, golfing,  (which was an aggravation to both of us), and whatever else came up.  I recall many occasions where my father would recount a case Whit had been involved in and relating how smart and effective he was in the court room.  He explained how Whit was always extremely prepared, and it was obvious to me he appreciated and respected that, not just of Whit, but any attorney for that matter.  Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule.
Knowing my father was a man of great integrity, it meant a great deal to me when Whit sacrificed countless hours (actually both Whit and his wife Robin) to his campaign.  In fact, he spent more time than I did, and I kept myself working very hard as well.  So why is this important and what does it say about Whit Graves?  It says to me Whit Graves stands up for what is good, for lack of a better word.  It is one thing to donate $100 to a campaign, and quite another to participate in every door to door walk, every football game, etc.  Whit did all that and more.
Over time I have gotten to know Whit better, and the more I know, the more I like, respect, and admire him.  Here is a guy that was a highly decorated Louisiana State Trooper for many years, and that saved up enough money to put himself through law school.  No student loans, no parents footing the bill.  If you really look at his history, I see a guy that is public-service oriented, but that realized he had a higher calling as an attorney.    And I believe now, with a lot of time under his belt as both a prosecutor and private attorney, he knows he can make even more a difference as a District Judge.
On one of our recent campaign walks I was teamed up with an old family friend of mine Dale Montgomery, who has worked for the DA’s office a number of years.  He related he has seen Whit pull police officers aside after a case was over to give them advice on making a good case in the future. This goes beyond good ethics and lends to a better judicial system, which is what we should all be shooting for in the coming election.
Whit has the intellect, common sense, temperament, integrity, and independence to be our next judge.  I believe this is a man where justice will be blind, in other words he will hear the small and the great alike.  There is much more to Whit and I wish I was better able to articulate it, but suffice to say I know my father would be a proud man to see him on the bench, as I would.
-Dewey E. Burchett III  

Make your endorsement for District Judge. Email it to

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catherine Lowe pleads to Manslaughter

Catherine Lowe, who was originally charged with 1st Degree Murder in the death of her step-daughter, Celeste Lowe, has negotiated a plea arrangement with District Attorney Schuyler Marvin that finds her guilty of Manslaughter. She will face a sentence of 10-40 years under the statute.


LSA-R.S. 14:31
A.  Manslaughter is:
(1)  A homicide which would be murder under either Article 30 (first degree murder) or Article 30.1 (second degree murder), but the offense is committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection.  Provocation shall not reduce a homicide to manslaughter if the jury finds that the offender's blood had actually cooled, or that an average person's blood would have cooled, at the time the offense was committed; or
(2)  A homicide committed, without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
(a)  When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any felony not enumerated in Article 30 or 30.1, or of any intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person; or
(b)  When the offender is resisting lawful arrest by means, or in a manner, not inherently dangerous, and the circumstances are such that the killing would not be murder under Article 30 or 30.1.
B.  Whoever commits manslaughter shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than forty years.  However, if the victim killed was under the age of ten years, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence, for not less than ten years nor more than forty years.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Make your own endorsement for Judge

Here's an idea. Instead of anonymous sniping in the comments section of the blog, why don't you write an endorsement for your candidate?
Write it up explaining why you think your candidate for judge is the best choice. Of course, you have to include your name.
Email it to and I will publish it as a blog post.
Speak out folks!
This is an important office and an important election and I think it would be interesting to have the opinions of ordinary citizens out there along with the elected officials and newspapers who endorse.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Anybody get one of these?

The "church" of convicted child molester Tony Alamo is passing out flyers in Shreveport and Bossier. This morning they were in North Bossier leaving them on cars.
Remember Alamo was convicted of child sexual abuse and is in prison.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The general election has passed, the nation has chosen to keep Barack Obama in the White House, and in Bossier/Webster we have a runoff for Judge.
Mike Nerren garnered the most votes, but not a majority. He will face Whit Graves in a runoff on December 8th.
Judge John Slattery ran a good race and had the most votes in his home parish of Webster. Congratulations on a race well run, Judge Slattery.
Of course the presidential election brought out a lot of voters. Turnout in the runoff will be a fraction of what we saw Tuesday. The big question, of course, is which candidates will the Slattery voters favor and which candidate can turn out their supporters one more time?
I'll have a lot more on this soon, in the meantime give it some thought.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bossier Crime Stoppers has vacancies on Board

Bossier Crime Stoppers is seeking individuals in Bossier who are interested in making a difference in their community by becoming part of their crime fighting team. Bossier Crime Stoppers is currently accepting applications to fill vacancies on their board. 
            Applicants must be employed or reside in Bossier Parish, at least 21 years of age and have no criminal history.  Persons submitting applications are subject to a background check and, if selected, will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement           
            Applications can be made by submitting a letter of introduction along with a resume and at least three references to the following address:  Crime Stoppers of Bossier, PO Box 5714, Bossier City, LA  71171. All applications must be submitted by December 1, 2012.
            Bossier Crime Stoppers board members serve on a voluntary basis.  The board currently meets the third Tuesday of every month with additional meetings scheduled as necessary.
            Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that supports community involvement in trying to prevent and solve crimes in communities and schools across the nation.
            Applicants in need of further information can call (318) 741-8648.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Just some random thoughts on election day.
‘This is the most important election of our lifetime’. That’s what everyone is saying, and it may be true. I have heard that in every election of my adult life, from the Nixon-Humphrey election in 1968 forward. As I said, it may be true and may have been true during all of those election cycles, for better or worse.
The very first memory I have of a presidential election was in 1952, when I was 5 years old. I remember the adults talking about it, and then electing Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1960 I was 13 years old and remember the Kennedy-Nixon election. I was actually interested in politics at that age. It was an exciting time.
As the years progressed, I realized that no one person or party has all the answers. Every individual has to follow his own lights when voting on important issues.
My granddaughter Mary Celeste is ready for election day, wearing her respectable Republican dress. I’m sure her dad loves it.

It is also important to keep in mind that we are not voting for the president today, we are voting for the people who will elect the president. The concept of the Electoral College is very confusing to a lot of people. My Facebook friend Lance Ward posted this video that offers a good explanation of the reasons for it. The commentator is a Romney supporter, but he leaves the partisan side of it out of this video and offers a really good explanation of why we have an Electoral College. It is worth watching.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pre-election roundup

By tomorrow night we will know some things that we don't know now.
For instance, whether Barack Obama get four more years or will Mitt Romney be the new president-elect.
We'll know who is in a runoff for 26th JDC Judge (and I'm assuming there will be a runoff).
In case you've been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, the candidates are Judge John Slattery of Springhill, ADA Mike Nerren and Whit Graves.
John Slattery has been practicing law for 29 years, serving the last 12 as City Judge and Ward 2 Judge in Springhill. He has served temporary terms as District Judge and as Bossier City Judge, by appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court. He also served 15 years as an assistant District Attorney for Bossier/Webster.
Mike Nerren is a graduate of Haughton High School and LSU Law School. He has a private practice and is an assistant DA. Nerren has the endorsement of DA Schuyler Marvin.
Whit Graves has been involved in the legal system for 35 years. He was a Louisiana State Trooper for 12 years before completing law school. He has worked on both sides, serving as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. Graves has spent a lot of time in the courtroom, completing more than 100 successful jury trials. Graves believes that while it is not illegal, that it is unethical for the District Attorney to endorse in a judicial race. Nerren counters that endorsements from public officials is a widely accepted practice. You have to be the judge on this one.
The Town of Benton has a couple of interesting races going on. The Mayor's race is a rerun between current Mayor Wayne Cathcart and Ken Shiflett. Cathcart was appointed when Mayor Doughty passed away, and was elected over Shiflett in the special election for that office. Cathcart should have no problem with this election.
The race for chief of police is between current chief Charles Pilkinton and former assistant chief Gene Hillen. Hillen currently serves as Constable.
This race is interesting because Hillen was terminated and charged with misdemeanor theft and with public payroll fraud. 
Hillen was offered a plea arrangement which would basically have been a slap on the wrist, but turned it down. He told me that he is innocent and that people who are innocent don't plead guilty.
The case went to trial and all evidence was heard. It was then recessed until November 12th (6 days after the election).
Chances are that Pilkinton will be re-elected, but if Hillen is found not guilty there will probably be some repercussions.