judge court gavel

UPDATE:

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied the appeal application of a candidate for the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

The decision released Thursday means the end of the road for Jason Brown's attempt to stay on the Oct. 12 ballot. 

ORIGINAL STORY posted Aug. 27:

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The state appeals court in Shreveport Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that Bossier Parish Police Jury candidate Jason Brown does not meet the residency requirements necessary to run for a seat on the parish governing body.

The ruling came the day after an unusual court session where Brown asked every judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal to recuse themselves from hearing the case. Brown said animosity toward him and his father – the court’s retired chief judge, Henry Brown – created too much bias to guarantee an impartial review of the case.

A retired Louisiana Supreme Court justice brought in to hear the issue would not let the elder Brown bring up the issue of animosity.  

Henry Brown succeeded in saying he had loaned money to one of the judges on the appeals court before Judge Jeannette Knoll cut him off.

“If recusal of the entire 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal could be premised on such flimsy accusations, it would drastically reduce the burden of proof required for recusation of judges and set a dangerous precedent,” Knoll said a short time later in a three-page opinion that the appeals court judges in Shreveport could decide the case. Jason Brown had also sought to recuse Judge Jeff Thompson, who had defeated him earlier this year in a race for a seat on the appeals court.

In his motion asking for the entire appeals court to recuse itself from hearing his son’s appeal, Henry Brown said animosity toward him by his former colleagues raised questions of impartiality. 

“Each judge on this court has personally expressed their bias, and if honest would recuse themselves,” the elder Brown wrote in a motion for recusal.

No discussion of what led to those alleged hard feelings was allowed during Monday’s recusal hearing, including if there was a loan and if it was repaid. The judge to whom Henry Brown said he loaned money was among the five judges who heard arguments in the case. Some judges on the court voluntarily recused themselves from hearing the case.

Brown retired from the appeals court last fall after being barred from the courthouse for alleged behavior toward colleagues who were considering an appeal involving a friend of his. The retirement came as law enforcement was investing whether a law clerk who worked for Brown improperly accessed computer files on the case. Authorities later concluded no charges against the law clerk were justified.

Brown’s banishment from the courthouse last September, on orders of the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, came after complaints were filed that Brown had created a hostile environment toward colleagues who were going to decide his friend’s appeal. That friend, Hahn Williams, was accused of breaching her fiduciary duty as the trustee and executrix of a Shreveport man’s trust and estate. 

A Caddo District Court civil jury had awarded the man’s estate $1.5 million, court records show. Allegations in the lawsuit questioned some billings and expenses to the man and then to his estate after he died.

Brown recused himself from hearing the appeal of that case and the appeals court upheld the jury verdict.

Tuesday’s appeals court ruling involved a decision by a Bossier District Court judge, who ruled last week that Jason Brown does not meet residency requirements. He concluded Brown lives in Shreveport, not in a townhouse his father owns in Bossier City. 

Brown said he votes in Bossier, has gotten paychecks at the townhouse and has that address on his driver’s license. Challengers to his Police Jury candidacy noted lack of water usage at the townhouse and Brown’s Shreveport address listed on campaign finance reports.

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