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LABI: We must increase judicial transparency in Louisiana

In its continuing push for greater transparency in Louisiana’s judiciary, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) today launched a new website to give citizens access to information on Louisiana’s courts. LouisianaJudiciary.com is a product of their Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute (LFEI), a 501(c)(4) organization.

“Campaign signs for candidates seeking judicial seats are already popping up in communities across Louisiana, leaving residents scratching their heads as to just who their elected judges are, who is actually running against whom and how each level of court overlaps or interacts,” said Lauren Chauvin, director of LABI’s Judicial Program. “This is an essential third branch of government that we feel warrants the same level of transparency and public access as our legislative and executive branches, she continued. “Speaking with judges last year during our judicial listening tour, they welcome the interest, and believe the courts belong to the citizens and more public knowledge will result in a better system of justice.”

At LouisianaJudiciary.com, citizens can use interactive maps to explore the Louisiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and local judicial districts to read judges’ biographies, learn when terms end and see where lines are drawn. This website is the only resource where citizens can find all of this in one place online. More improvements are in development to expand the functionality of the website.

“This is just phase one of an effort to shed light on the judiciary, as the state’s chamber of commerce we have found this branch of government has an equally profound impact on Louisiana’s business climate as our Legislature,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “This call for transparency aligns with the genesis of legal reforms passed during our latest legislative sessions that shed more light on how cases play out in court, with legislation lifting gag orders, allowing more evidence to be presented and calling for citizen inclusion via lowering the threshold triggering a jury trial. In all of this, the business community has never sought specific outcomes from the court, we only seek a system that presents a level playing field to ensure equal justice, with fair and independent arbiters of the law. Transparency is the first step toward reaching that goal.”

Both LABI and LFEI seeks to foster economic growth in the State of Louisiana.

For inquiries, you can contact Mitch Rabalais, communications manager for LABI, at (985) 317-8509 or email him at mitchr@labi.org