Meet your 40th Judicial District Judges

Published 9:09 am Saturday, November 7, 2020

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EDGARD — St. John the Baptist Parish voters made their voices heard on Election Day and selected Nghana Lewis to fill the seat previously held by E. Jeffrey Perilloux in Div. B of the 40th Judicial District Court.

Lewis grasped the majority of the turnout with 50.09 percent of the vote (3,116 votes). Challenger Leandre Millet attained 42.94 percent of the vote (2,671 votes).

Despite having been convicted of three felony counts of indecent behavior and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery in September, Perilloux received 434 votes for 6.98 percent of the turnout on Nov. 3. Since his conviction and subsequent resignation from the bench occurred after the period of candidacy challenges had ended, Perilloux’s name was unable to be removed from the ballot.

Lewis said she is an effective leader because she sets goals and objectives and invites others to hold her accountable. One of her priorities as judge will be facilitating the collection of unpaid ticket-related fines and costs within the court. According to Lewis, outstanding fines and costs across the three divisions are close to $500,000.

Other priorities will include meeting with stakeholders to begin development of a comprehensive juvenile justice prevention plan and developing a mandatory community service plan for the court.

“I am ready to take the bench and, on day one, render decisions based on the law, in criminal, civil, juvenile, 4D and traffic matters,” Lewis said. “I understand the administrative and judicial functions of the Court in light of my past service as a law clerk for Division B and my extensive practice in all areas over which a court of general jurisdiction presides.”

Voters also re-elected Sterling Snowdy to the Division C seat for a fifth consecutive six-year term. Snowdy received 51 percent of the turnout (4,428 votes) during the Nov. 3 election. The next highest vote getter was challenger Eric Carter with 30.81 percent of the vote (2,675 votes), followed by Dashawn Hayes with 18.19 percent of the vote (1,579 votes).

Snowdy has 34 years of legal experience, including 24 years on the bench in St. John Parish.

Snowdy said his priorities will be to “continue and to advance the technological improvements made to the court in the wake of the COVID pandemic.” His other priorities include implementing a case management system to ensure all matters move forward in an efficient and timely manner and seeking improvements to accessing justice at the East Bank Courtroom on Cambridge Drive.

“I will continue to bring honesty and integrity to the bench,” Snowdy said. “For over 30 years, I have been deeply involved in St. John Parish…assisting all who request assistance and volunteering in many capacities in everything from small neighborhood groups to large community civic organizations.”

Lewis and Snowdy will join new Division A Judge Vercell Fiffie in the 40th Judicial Court. Fiffie ran uncontested in the Nov. 3 election after his opponent, Atoundra Pierre Lawson, was disqualified in August. He will fill the seat of departing longtime Division A Judge Madeline Jasmine.

Fiffie, a 1997 graduate of West St. John High School, said he has dedicated much of his over 14-year legal career to “family law and domestic disputes, personal injury, corporate litigation, international trade law, land disputes, successions and criminal law.”

Another judicial position up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election was the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, Second District, Division A seat.

This race will continue to a runoff election on Dec. 5, 2020, as none of the three candidates attained 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 3.

Sharrolyn Jackson Miles achieved the most votes in St. John the Baptist Parish with 41.59 percent of the turnout (7,048 votes). However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Second District Div. A seat also covers St. James Parish, where Vacherie native Jude G. Gravois led in votes.

Among 66 precincts in St. John and St. James, Gravois grasped 45.43 percent of the turnout (12,939 votes). The next highest vote getter was Jackson Miles with 35.12 percent of the turnout (10,002 votes). Robert Snyder Jr. had 19.45 percent of the turnout with 5,539 votes.

Justice of the Peace & Constable

The Nov. 3 election also decided the following justice of the peace and constable positions in St. John Parish:

  • Ferdinand Wallace Jr. won Justice of the Peace District 3 (50.63 percent, 1,131 votes) over Mala Toney Taylor (49.37 percent, 1,103 votes). Robert Snyder Jr. was the incumbent in this position and did not run for re-election.
  • Incumbent Terry Toney-Jones won the election for Justice of the Peace District 4 (59.34 percent, 1,855 votes) over Alfreda DeVare (40.66 percent, 1,271 votes).
  • Challenger Ronald Frank won Constable District 2 (55.1 percent, 854 votes) over incumbent Barry Ellis Sr. (44.9 percent, 696 votes).
  • Gabrielle McKarry won Constable District 3 (50.51 percent, 1,136 votes) over Matthew Maurin (49.49 percent, 1,113 votes).
  • Michael Green won Constable District 4 by a large margin (72.44 percent, 2,437 votes) over incumbent Russel Landeche Sr. (27.56 percent, 927 votes).
  • Janice McClain Mitchell won Constable District 6 (69.69 percent, 3,645 votes) over Williette Wallace (30.31 percent, 1,585 votes).
  • Incumbent Keith “Mike” Bourgeois maintained his role as Constable District 7 (58.92 percent, 1,697 votes), defeating Tyren Snyder (41.08 percent, 1,183 votes).

Statewide & National

  • John Parish favored Democrat Joe Biden for president (63.37 percent). Louisiana as a whole favored Republican Donald Trump (58.47 percent of statewide turnout, 1,255,482 votes).
  • John split votes between Bill Cassidy, Derrick “Champ” Edwards and Adrian Perkins for U.S. Senator, with no one receiving 50 percent of the vote. Bill Cassidy received 59.33 percent of the vote statewide and was re-elected.
  • John favored Cedric Richmond for U.S. Representative Second Congressional District and Garret Graves for U.S. Representative Sixth Congressional District. Both were re-elected by wide margins statewide.