SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – On Saturday, two First Judicial District (Caddo Parish) Judges will face off in the special election to fill the unexpired term of Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jeanette Garrett, who retired Jan. 7.
District Judges Craig Marcotte and Erin Leigh Waddell Garrett are vying for the eight years remaining on Jeanette Garrett’s 3rd District, Section 2, Division C seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which encompasses Caddo, DeSoto and Red River Parishes.
Marcotte, who was elected to his first six-year Caddo bench in 2008, was re-elected to two subsequent terms, while Waddell Garrett, was elected to her first six-year term in November 2014 and ran unopposed for a second six-year term in November 2020.
While Marcotte has spent almost 14 years on the Caddo Bench in criminal and civil courts, Waddell Garrett has spent nearly eight years in family and drug court.
Marcotte brings a litany of endorsements from law enforcement and political areas, as well as 20 years of law practice before being elected to the Caddo Bench, while Waddell Garrett brings her experience as a working mother with three school-age children under the age of 10.
Both candidates believe it is important to maintain the integrity of the law, and Marcotte strongly believes in the rule of law and does not believe there’s a place in the judiciary for activist judges with political agendas.
“I think we need good judges on the Second Circuit that do the right thing, that call it like it is, use common sense and say, ‘Look, I may not agree with this, but this is what the law says,” Marcotte said.
Waddell Garrett doesn’t disagree, but brings a humanitarian component to the table, saying she believes those adjudicating the law should be out for all the people, “doing what’s right, doing what’s honest, doing what’s fair.
“I’d like to see the public trust increase in the system,” she added.
Marcotte said as a district judge, he’s presided over many trials, both criminal and civil, adding that in his almost 14 years as a judge, “I’ve seen pretty much everything.”
His opponent, however, adds her life experience into the mix. She said although her father was a district judge and her mother a teacher, she’s worked since she was 14, sometimes as many as three jobs at a time, and can relate to working people.
That, along with being a working mom who has to run a busy household with three children who need to be shuttled around to their various activities gives her a unique perspective.
“I think we need practical decision-makers in the judicial field,’ Waddell Garrett said, which is her strong suit. She said she’s someone who has had her hands dirty, and she understands when some people feel like they’re not being properly represented.
“I think I’m the person that can really make those decisions and make people be heard, make them feel like they were treated fairly.”
Marcotte, however, believes his legal and judicial experience, as well as his dedication to the law, rather than an agenda, will be the key to success, adding, “I would not have run this race had I not thought I could win.”
The polls will open at 7 a.m. Saturday and close at 8 p.m.