SHREVEPORT, La. -- Shreveport City Court Judge Lee Irvin, who was involved in a romantic relationship with a young woman who had misdemeanor criminal cases pending before him, has been suspended indefinitely with pay while investigations of his case continue.
Irvin’s ex-girlfriend shot herself last November after she went inside the judge’s house and found him in bed with the other woman, who had a case pending before the judge later that day. The former girlfriend was seriously wounded but survived.
An order filed Wednesday by the Louisiana Supreme Court said the suspension is agreed upon by both Irvin and the state Judiciary Commission, which investigates matters of possible ethical misconduct by judges.
“The parties agree that interim disqualification is appropriate to ensure continuing public confidence in the judiciary while these matters are pending,” a motion filed with the Supreme Court said.
The Judiciary Commission is investigating Irvin’s actions and Shreveport police are conducting a public-integrity investigation. The Judiciary Commission opened cases on Irvin after reports by KTBS News and after Irvin self-reported to the commission, the motion said.
Police have been investigating both the shooting and Irvin’s actions as a judge. Police Chief Ben Raymond said earlier that the ex-girlfriend’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
The public-integrity part of the police investigation is looking at whether Irvin’s lover or any other defendants received preferential treatment in City Court and if the court docket was manipulated to get cases before Irvin, law enforcement sources said. The findings of that investigation will be sent to the Caddo district attorney’s office for a decision on whether charges should be filed or if the case would be presented to a grand jury.
Irvin, 64, did not respond to an earlier request for comment from KTBS. His attorney, Ron Miciotto, refused comment on Friday.
Canons of judicial conduct prohibit judges from hearing cases when there is a potential conflict of interest, including personal relationships.
After the shooting occurred, Irvin recused himself from hearing his girlfriend’s cases, which involve charges of DWI, hit-and-run driving and public drunkenness. Those cases against 23-year-old Cameron Wilson are still pending, with her next court date in March.
Irvin and Wilson were in bed when the former girlfriend, who had a key to the judge’s house, walked in the room, law enforcement sources said. The ex-girlfriend, a longtime city government employee, became upset, found a gun in the home and shot herself under the chin.
The woman has undergone several reconstructive surgeries and remains hospitalized, friends said. Another surgery is scheduled around June, the friends said.
A temporary judge has been appointed to hear Irvin’s cases through the end of March.