Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Subject: Jim Garrison on Judge Edward Haggerty
Jim Garrison on Judge Edward Haggerty
Date: Mon, 23 August 1999 01:29 PM EDT
In re Judge Edward A. HAGGERTY, Jr.
Supreme Court of Louisiana
257 La. 1; 241 So. 2d 469; 1970 La. LEXIS 3298
November 23, 1970
SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: [***1]
Rehearing Denied December 14, 1970, Reported at 257 La. 1 at 60.
COUNSEL: Robert E. LeCorgne, Jr., New Orleans, Chief Executive Officer, for The Judiciary Commission of Louisiana.
Robert J. Zibilich, George E. Mouledoux, New Orleans, for defendant-respondent.
JUDGES: Ayres, Justice ad hoc. Tate, J., recused. Hamiter, Chief Justice, dissenting.
OPINION BY: AYRES
OPINION: [*7] [**470] This action is before this court on the recommendation of The Judiciary Commission of Louisiana that the respondent, Judge Edward A. Haggerty, Jr., of the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, be removed from office pursuant to charges directed against him under the provisions of Art. IX, Sec. 4, Par. B of [**471] the Louisiana Constitution as amended by Act No. 661 of 1968 [...]
DISSENT BY: HAMITER
DISSENT: HAMITER, Chief Justice (dissenting).
Particularly impressive was the testimony of Honorable Jim Garrison, the present District Attorney of Orleans Parish who has held that position for more than eight years and is and has been unfriendly with Judge Haggerty. He observed:
[*50] "Q. I don't mean to insult [***49] you, but you've been somewhat of a controversial District Attorney having problems on occasions with judges. So it would interest me to know your opinion of Judge Haggerty as a judge.
A. First I'd have to say that I think we have a very good Bench out there across the board, but if you would draw a line, put all the judges in vertical order and draw a line say at the median in the middle of the line, you would have to put Judge Haggerty in the upper part because of his experience. I would say that is no reflection on any of the other judges out there to say that he's definitely one of the better judges.
Q. Has your office had any particular difficulty with the handling of docket in Judge Haggerty's section, Section 'C'?
A. There's never been any in eight years.
* * *
Q. Now Judge Haggerty was the Presiding Judge in the famous trial of the State of Louisiana versus Clay Shaw?
Q. It would be fair to say it was a case that you were particularly interested in?
Q. You paid particular attention to the handling of this case?
A. Yes, I did.
[*51] Q. What would be your reaction to Judge Haggerty's handling of that matter?
A. [***50] I will repeat. I'll simply repeat what I have said before on a number of instances that this was the most distinguished work on the part of a District Judge that I have ever seen since I've been a lawyer.
Q. Let me ask you this. You're familiar with the elections in the Parish of Orleans, City of New Orleans, generally?
Q. Do you know whether or not Judge Haggerty's position comes up for vote by the public in short order?
A. It comes up in 1972.
Q. What is Judge Haggerty's general reputation insofar as being a fair-minded and industrious judge?
A. His general reputation is that he is both fair-minded and industrious.
* * *
Q. Have you ever had occasion to hear Judge Haggerty's reputation as to whether or not he's an industrious judge discussed?
A. Mr. LeCorgne, I have not heard it discussed in a positive way. I'm more conscious of it being taken for granted in the sense that it has never come up. For example, if you were to ask me to cite an instance there, I don't think I could.
[*52] Q. Have you ever had occasion to hear Judge Haggerty's reputation for absence and tardiness in this Court discussed?
A. I have [***51] heard of his being late on two occasions in the last eight years. There [**487] may be more. I'm conscious of his being late on two occasions.
Q. How about his absences?
A. A complete absence?
A. I'm not conscious of a complete absence.
Q. On any occasion?
A. No, I'm not.
Q. Well, Mr. Garrison, if I told you that one of your Assistant District Attorneys has testified that from the period of September 11, 1968 through January 9, 1969 Judge Haggerty was late or absent on 21 occasions?
A. Is this a District Attorney in that section?
A. I would say two things. First certainly that he should know better than I, being in that section, but on the other hand, until this [back] operation I was there everyday, and he should have come in and made such complaint, and no such complaint was made to me because I would have talked to the Judge because we have never had any trouble communicating, [*53] and this is the sort of thing that I would feel no hesitancy about going down to his Chambers and discussing, but no such complaint was ever made to me.
* * *
Q. If I tell you that another assistant district attorney testified [***52] for the period August 4th, 1969 through December 11th, 1969 Court was not held in Section 'C' of the Criminal District Court by Judge Haggerty on 17 occasions, would you say that this, coupled with the other absences and tardiness which I mentioned, indicates an industrious judge to you?
A. I cannot answer yes or no. I will answer it this way, and if it's not satisfactory, I will try and give you more. As you know since I have been District Attorney I have publicly exhibited a concern with regard to productivity of the Courts, and on one occasion it even brought me into conflict with the judges. I have to say with regard to Judge Haggerty I have never had called to my attention any systematic absence or failure to do his job.
* * *
Q. Do you think it's proper for a judge who publicly bets in a handbook and who observes obscene movies and watches obscene movies in the presence of others at a party is a proper person to sit in judgment on those types of cases?
[*54] A. Well of course I don't, but let me add this I do not know of any judges out there who are making improper decisions in those kinds of cases, and that would be what I would be concerned about as [***53] District Attorney.
Q. Mr. Garrison, if I told you that from the period of December 11, 1967 through April 20, 1970 Court was not held <* *> in Section 'C' of Criminal District Court for 108 days, would you say that that indicates an industrious judge?
A. I don't think you can draw a conclusion, Mr. LeCorgne, by counting the entire number of days of the year because for the simple reason that if you count the Court holidays and if you count the other days of the year which Court is not held it's surprising how many days you come up with. I can only reply to that that we have not had a problem of productivity with regard to Section 'C'.
* * *
Q. Mr. Garrison, have you ever heard discussed the fact or the lack of that fact that Judge Haggerty's behavior has resulted in a loss of public respect and confidence in his ability to do his duty? Have you heard that matter discussed?
A. No. I think I would have to say that the off-duty life and the on-Bench life were capsulated.
[**488] Q. That they were capsulated?
[*55] A. That one never leads into the other.
* * *
Q. Mr. Garrison, do I understand you to state that in the presence of Judge Haggerty [***54] you feel that his off-duty life should be separated entirely from his on-duty life?
A. I'm saying that it has been. In other words, assuming that what I have heard is true that he drinks more than other people off-duty, there has been no evidence of it on the Bench as far as I'm concerned, and there are many people who can drink at night and still work more productively in the day than other people, and I make that point because I'm very conscious of the years of his experience in the Courtroom. For example if I were to ask a Judge in the Criminal District Court a question about evidence, although the other judges are experienced, a number of them, I would go first to Judge Haggerty because he is the most knowledgable in evidence on the Bench out there.
Q. Are you in a position to because of having heard discussions of this, are you in a position to state whether as a matter of general reputation in the community the off-duty affairs that you mentioned may have affected his on-duty affairs?
A. I think I would be in such a position, and I will say that I don't think it will affect his duty.
[*56] Q. And you don't think it has in the general reputation of the [***55] community itself?
A. No, I don't think.
* * *
Q. Mr. Garrison, Judge Haggerty furnished this Commission a Sworn Statement on March 5th, 1970, which has been offered and introduced and filed in evidence as CEO-22 in which he says, and I quote: '<* * *> It's common knowledge, not rumor, common knowledge around the Criminal District Court that Mr. Garrison knowingly permitted Mr. Alcock and Mr. Alford to file these charges with the hope that he may have another judgeship for his friend Governor McKeithen to fill.'
A. I will reply to that by saying it was with the deepest reluctance that I took the charges, and I will go further and say that it would be a pronounced loss to the Criminal District Court if it were to lose Judge Haggerty because of his experience. That was my position at that time and it is now."
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