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St. Charles Parish judge censured by high court

By MOLLY DRYMAN

Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE — District Judge Kirk Granier will pay close to $3,000 in fines to the Judiciary Committee of Louisiana after being publicly censured by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The censure was for hiring his girlfriend to review medical records for the Hahnville courthouse in St. Charles Parish.

In the State Supreme Court decree they stated, “Between February 1999 and June 2002, Judge Granier hired his girlfriend, Tanya LeBlanc, a registered nurse with twenty-three years of nursing experience, as an independent contractor to review and summarize medical records for nineteen cases in his court.

Judge Granier authorized the Clerk of Court to pay LeBlanc, from the Judicial Expense Fund, an amount totaling $13,860.50 for the work LeBlanc performed for the court.

Judge Granier also authorized the clerk’s office to pay Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. $1,299 from the Judicial Expense Fund for LeBlanc’s tuition to attend a week-long legal nurse consultant course in Houston, Texas and to pay $1,022.78 to cover LeBlanc’s hotel expenses, a per diem of $40, and the airfare for her attendance at the Houston Seminar.”

The Judiciary Committee of Louisiana found out about LeBlanc’s employment during Granier’s re-election in 2002.

His opponent, Randy Lewis, made the issue known to the press and the committee decided to bring it to the Supreme Court’s attention, according to published reports.

The State Supreme Court ordered that Granier be publicly censured for violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and ordered Granier to reimburse $2,321,78 to the Judicial Expense Fund of the 29th Judicial District Court, Hahnville, and the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana $448.

“The public censure is the discipline,” said Public Information Officer Valerie Willard of the Louisiana Supreme Court. “The amount is based on fees of the court and for the investigation.”

Public censure is the lowest punishment.

Suspension with or without pay is the next level of punishment and the highest level would result in removal, according to Willard.