Judicial Officers in the Community
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2020 African-American Heritage Program - February 27, 2020
Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick, Judge Brian A. Jackson, Judge John W. deGravelles, Magistrate Judge Richard L. Bourgeois, Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes, Magistrate Judge Scott D. Johnson of the United States District Court, Fifth Circuit Judge S. Kyle Duncan of the United States Court of Appeals, Judge Douglas D. Dodd of the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the agencies of the Middle District of Louisiana federal courthouse hosted the twenty-fifth annual African-American History Program on Thursday, February 27th. The featured guest speaker was Mr. Verge Ausberry, Executive Deputy Director of Athletics and Executive Director of External Relations for Louisiana State University. He is responsible for strategic planning for the athletic department and its daily operations. He also serves as the administrator for the football and men's basketball programs, the departmental liaison for the Tiger Athletic Foundation, and the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes. Ausberry also assists the Office of the President in external and governmental affairs. Mr. Ausberry shared his interesting story of transforming individuals, and the challenges and successes that he encountered along his journey.
Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes spoke to University Laboratory School 7th Graders – February 19, 2020
On February 19, 2020, Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes, along with Congressman Garrett Graves and U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin, spoke to University Laboratory School 7th Graders regarding the three branches of government.
Chief Judge Shelly Dick, Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois and Chief Probation Officer Clarence Rambo discuss federal court system with students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - July 2019
Chief Judge Shelly Dick, Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois and Chief Probation Officer Clarence Rambo recently spoke (for a combined 5 hours) to students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through the LSU Continuing Education program, directed by Mrs. Linda Lightfoot. The program is a series of learning opportunities geared toward those ages 50 and above. Mrs. Lightfoot’s summer class included a four-session class on the federal courts and federal law enforcement. Judge Dick introduced them to the Middle District’s RISE reentry court initiative and discussed the nomination/confirmation process for a federal judge. Judge Bourgeois discussed the levels of judicial approval required by federal law and the United States Constitution as it pertains to various investigative techniques used by law enforcement. Clarence Rambo introduced the group to the federal probation and pretrial services system and discussed the role of a United States Probation Officer in the federal courts.
U.S. District Court Judges Jackson and deGravelles Attend Brown Bag Lunch at Southern May 14, 2019
Judges Brian Jackson and John deGravelles recently attended a “Brown Bag Lunch” at Southern University Law Center where the judges shared with students an understanding of the practical aspects of the job performed by Federal Judges. After introductions by Chancellor John K. Pierre and Vice-Chancellor Alfreda Diamond, Judges Jackson and deGravelles explained some of the day to day workings of the Middle District that the students were not likely to get in their classes. Judge Jackson, recently sworn in as President of the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association, explained that this lunch “is part of an effort by the Association to reach out to law schools across the Circuit and give law students a greater understanding of what we actually do.” The students were encouraged to ask questions, make comments and participate in an informal exchange of ideas. “What we wanted,” said Jackson, “was an informal setting where the students felt free to speak their minds and ask questions they might be reluctant to ask in a classroom setting.” “I think we succeeded,” added deGravelles. “The students seemed to really enjoy it.” The Judges plan on holding a similar lunch at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center in the fall.
Unlocking Employment Opportunities: Keynote Speaker, Shon Hopwood - March 8, 2019
Chris Broadwater, John Easley, Honorable Shelly D. Dick, Shon Hopwood, Lisa Davis Lavergne, Natalie Laborde, and Stephen M. Toups
Coordinated by Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick and Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes, the Middle District of Louisiana sponsored a community wide event entitled “Unlocking Employment Opportunities: Rehabilitating Individuals Through Strategic Encounters”. The event featured keynote speaker Professor Shon Hopwood, former convicted bank robber and now Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University. The event targeted employers and decision makers in the community to discuss the importance of reentry programs for individuals reentering our community and workforce after incarceration. Following the keynote address, Professor Hopwood moderated a panel discussion on prison reform featuring panelists Chris Broadwater-Vice President of Workforce Policy at Louisiana Community & Technical College, John Easley-Education Coordinator at Angola State Prison, Natalie Laborde-Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff at Louisiana Corrections, Lisa Davis Lavergne-Facility Director at Residential Reentry Center, and Stephen M. Toups-President at Turner Industries Group, LLC.
R.I.S.E. Program Boasts Three New Graduates March 6, 2019
R.I.S.E. Program Boasts Three New Graduates
Louisiana Middle concluded its third graduating class from the Rehabilitating Individuals Through Strategic Encounters (R.I.S.E.) Program on March 6th. Graduates Henry Brown, Byron Carter, and Demond Spurlock were recognized in a courtroom ceremony followed by a reception after successfully completing the requirements of the program. Since its implementation in 2017, eight individuals have graduated from the program.
The R.I.S.E. program is designed to increase the opportunities for success by significantly addressing the criminogenic factors that may increase the likelihood of recidivism. The program utilizes a philosophy adopted by drug courts that believes frequent contact with the Judge is instrumental in bringing about change. Selection of participants for the R.I.S.E. Program is by recommendation from the probation officer based on the participants meeting the criteria and obtaining affirmation by the Court. Participation is voluntary. Participants agree to a 12-month placement in the R.I.S.E. program and, upon completion, the participant is required to complete an additional 6 or 12 months of supervised release.
Flory Trials Competition at LSU Law Center - February 25, 2019
LSU Law students Lucas Schenk and Benjamin Files won the Spring 2019 Ira S. Flory Mock Trial Competition on Feb. 25 at LSU Law.
Schenk and Files successfully defended their client in the case judged by the Honorable Richard Bourgeois, Magistrate Judge - United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Schenk and Files represented New Age Auto Company, Inc., which denied that its voice-to-text system caused a driver to lose focus of his vehicle and strike a pedestrian. John Griffin and Richard Norem represented Jamie Walker, the plaintiff who was struck by the vehicle, and finished runners-up in the competition.
Named in honor of the late professor of the Law Center, the Ira S. Flory Mock Trial Competition is open to all second- and third-year law students and is sponsored by the Board of Advocates. Flory was a professor at LSU Law for 36 years, and taught many course during his tenure, including Federal Procedure, Evidence, Bankruptcy and Negotiable Instruments. He was also instrumental in raising funds to increase the school library to the minimum requirements for accreditation and admission into the Association of the American Law Schools.
2019 African-American History Program
Honorable Brian A. Jackson and Honorable Sharon Weston Broome
Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick, Judge Brian A. Jackson, Judge John W. deGravelles, Magistrate Judge Richard L. Bourgeois, Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes of the United States District Court, Fifth Circuit Judge S. Kyle Duncan of the United States Court of Appeals, Judge Douglas D. Dodd of the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the agencies of the Middle District of Louisiana federal courthouse hosted the twenty-fourth annual African-American History Program on Wednesday, February 13th. The featured guest speaker was the Honorable Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President for the City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge. Mayor-President Broome shared her interesting story of public service, which included the challenges and successes that she encountered along her journey.
The yearly program is organized by a planning committee representing all federal agencies housed in the courthouse complex. Each year the program features a guest speaker or speakers who are leaders in the community, state, or nation. Past speakers have included the first African-American mayor of Baton Rouge, judges, doctors, military leaders, civil rights activists, television personalities, and cultural influencers such as community and business leaders involved in various Mardi Gras organizations. Participants in the program also include student groups, Junior ROTC, local musicians and choral groups. Local media covers the event each year, and the program has grown to the point where the Middle District’s ceremonial courtroom no longer accommodates all guests, requiring the use of an overflow courtroom.
Louisiana Middle is Nation’s Third Most Productive U. S. District Court January 2019
Of the ninety-four Federal District Courts in the United States, the District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ranks as the third most productive court in the country based on averaged statistics for fiscal years 2012-2018. This milestone was achieved while also being ranked as the fourth busiest court based on weighted filings. Louisiana Middle District, on average, has been in the top ten most productive courts for the past six years. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the Judges of the Middle District and to all those supporting the administration and management of cases in the Court. At the conclusion of calendar year 2018, the Middle District had 2,096 Civil Cases and 240 Criminal Defendants pending, a staggering workload for the District’s three Article III and two Magistrate Judges.Of the ninety-four Federal District Courts in the United States, the District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ranks as the third most productive court in the country based on averaged statistics for fiscal years 2012-2018. This milestone was achieved while also being ranked as the fourth busiest court based on weighted filings. Louisiana Middle District, on average, has been in the top ten most productive courts for the past six years. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the Judges of the Middle District and to all those supporting the administration and management of cases in the Court. At the conclusion of calendar year 2018, the Middle District had 2,096 Civil Cases and 240 Criminal Defendants pending, a staggering workload for the District’s three Article III and two Magistrate Judges.
Second graduating class of Louisiana Middle District’s Rehabilitating Individuals through Strategic Encounters (RISE) program
Second graduating class of Louisiana Middle District’s Rehabilitating Individuals through Strategic Encounters (RISE) program. Judicial Officers pictured are Chief Judge Shelly Dick and Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes with the new graduates. For more information on the RISE program, click here.
2018 African-American Heritage Program
2018 Law Day & Naturalization Ceremony
Flory Trials Competition at LSU Law Center - March 27, 2017
Named in honor of the late professor of the Law Center, the Ira S. Flory Mock Trial Competition is open to all second-and third-year law students and is sponsored by the Trial Advocacy Board. A Flory Trial is held each semester; the fall Flory trial is traditionally a criminal case, while the spring Flory trial is a civil case. Participating in the Flory trials is one of the best ways to get real-life experience and exposure to evidence and other rules of trial. Winners of the Spring 2017 competition are Ms. Quinn Brown and Ms. Caila Cleary.
Pictured from left to right: Ms. Quinn Brown, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, Senior U.S. District Judge James Brady, U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes and Ms. Caila Cleary.
Baton Rouge Bar Installation - January 11, 2017
Karli Glascock Johnson was sworn in as the 88th president of the Baton Rouge Bar Association Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in a ceremony that was presided over by Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson. During the ceremony, which was held at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, past president Jeanne C. Comeaux presented President’s Awards, and outgoing section chairs were recognized with plaques. A brief reception was held following the ceremony.
Judge Shelly D. Dick, Judge John W. deGravelles, 2017 BRBA President Karli Glascock Johnson, Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson and Judge James Brady were photographed following the Bar Leader Installation Ceremony.
2016 African-American Heritage Program
The Louisiana Middle District celebrated its twenty-first annual African-American Heritage Program on February 25, 2016. Clarence A. Becknell, Sr. presented “Mardi Gras: The African-American Experience.” In attendance were the Judicial Officers for Louisiana Middle District Court, employees of all Court units, local dignitaries, and guests. The Court would like to recognize the following schools/groups for participating in the program: Presentation of Colors - Zachary High School Army JROTC, Bronco Battalion; musical selections - John Gray, Trumpeter and Michael Foster and The Michael Foster Project; school guests - Madison Preparatory Academy.
About the Speaker: Mr. Becknell is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the Historian Emeritus of Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc. Mr. Becknell joined the Zulu organization in May 1981. He has always been an active member and has been instrumental in the growth of the organization through marketing and instituting community programs. The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc. is celebrating its 100th year of incorporation (1916-2016). While the “Group” marched in Mardi Gras as early as 1901, their first appearance as Zulus came in 1909, with William Story as King. Zulu has grown tremendously over the years and the continual growth is credited to the members for their love, loyalty, and dedication to the organization.
BRBA and BR Chapter of FBA hosted Federal Court Admission Ceremony - December 13, 2016
The BRBA and the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Federal Bar Association hosted its annual Admission to the Federal Courts Ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Judge John W. deGravelles presided over the ceremony wherein 34 attorneys were admitted to one or more of the federal courts including the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Thomas D. “Beau” Bourgeois Jr., Judge John W. deGravelles and Vic Suane