By Matt Doyle | Louisiana Radio Network | January 28, 2020
You can now view 5 years of financial disclosures for all 298 judges in the state of Louisiana at the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission’s website.
MCC President Rafael Goyeneche says they’ve made it easy to find out how much your local judge makes, and any potential local financial ties they may have.
“You can type in a judge’s name, and if you don’t know a judge’s name you can look up the parish that they are elected from, and it will call up all of the judges elected in that parish,” says Goyeneche. “It’s a very user-friendly system.”
Previously the only way you could get that kind of information was by filing a public records request. Goyeneche says judges are the only elected officials who have that privilege in Louisiana.
“The public loses confidence in the judicial system when policies like this exist, and there really is no justification,” says Goyeneche.
12 years ago an ethics reform package was passed that required the executive and legislative branches to publicly post that information, but the State Supreme Court blocked judges from having to comply.
Goyeneche says uploading the 10,000 pages worth of data was a mammoth task, but was worth the effort to help citizens discover whether or not a local judge has a conflict of interest.
“If a judge is presiding over litigation and they have a financial link to one of the litigants, that information should be made available,” says Goyeneche.
If they do, Goyeneche says requesting a recusal becomes a lot easier with that information available.