DSA New Orleans 2020

Voter Guide

Judges - Judicial District Court

St. Bernard Parish District Judge 34th Judicial District Court, Division A

Six year term; no term limits

Leola Anderson was the first African American candidate to run for judicial office in St. Bernard Parish when she ran for this position in 2014, and is making a second attempt this year. Anderson also ran for State House of Representatives for district 103 In 2015 on a platform of raising the minimum wage and equal pay for women, but lost in the primary. She has legal experience with appeals court, insurance defense, and in personal injury law. Anderson is running on a boilerplate platform of integrity, impartiality, and being tough on violent crime. It's nice to see a little humor and liveliness in her campaign with her promise of “no more good ole boys” and Saints fans will appreciate her posting a picture in a referee uniform, announcing she can judge these calls. Anderson has done a lot of canvassing in St. Bernard, and held voter registration drives and meet and greets. She has the endorsement of State Senator Joe Bouie, Jr.

William M. "Billy" McGoey is another “law and order” candidate promising merciless punishment with a cheery smile on his face. He argues in his campaign that St. Bernard needs a return to the safe days of his youth, and that the parish needs a prosecutor, not a defense attorney as a judge. Voters, if you think the problem with our criminal system is that it's not harsh enough, vote for this guy! McGoey has practiced law for 35 years, working as a prosecutor for the St. Bernard District Attorney and currently in Drug Court. Steve Scalise spoke at his campaign kickoff event.

A lawyer and former Marine, Cullen Tonry, like so many judges, is running on his area roots and happy family. His campaign site happily announces “He's One of Us!” and promises he won't have a “political agenda” on the bench. He has also pointed to his diverse legal experience as well as his time on St. Bernard's Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Committee. Tonry previously ran for a state house of representative seat and comes from a family with a political history in Louisiana. His father was a state and then national congressional representative, who served briefly as the last Democrat to hold the House seat currently held by Steve Scalise. The elder Tonry resigned early in his term and was ultimately convicted of campaign finance violations. In his time in office, he fought against a right-to-work bill that ended up passing, bringing Louisiana in as the second-to-last right-to-work state in the South.

St. Bernard Parish District Judge 34th Judicial District Court, Division E

The current incumbent, Jacques Sanborn, was arrested for drunk driving after hitting another car in April of 2020. He ran unopposed in 2014.

Eric Bopp has been active in Louisiana state democratic politics since the 1980s, served as delegate to multiple national democratic committees and served on the state democratic central committee. Bopp has a varied legal practice, both at the state and federal levels. Despite being a lifelong Democrat, he has worked in the past for the Edward Bopp law firm, which is “dedicated to the advancement of conservative republican principles, politics, and defending individual liberties by providing focused legal guidance for the management of political campaigns…” He previously served on the St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce. He has received the endorsement of the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO.

Justin Stephens has been an active attorney for 14 years, with a diverse portfolio of cases, both at the state and federal levels. His campaign slogan is “A judge who will be tough on crime.” He reported to a local conservative talk radio host that he is a “defend, not defund” candidate, referring to his stance on police funding. Stephens has an extensive history of Republican Party activism and formerly served on the staff of Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin. His father, Jack Stephens, is a former sheriff of St. Bernard. Stephens has stated that he wants to bring more technology to the courthouse, especially by making it easier to pay fines and tickets online and opening up a satellite courthouse.

Jill Wilhoft is a partner at Baldwin Haspel, Burke, and Mayer, where she focuses on maritime law, personal injury, bankruptcy and employment law. Her campaign slogan is “incorruptible, impartial, and fair.” Her campaign facebook page emphasizes that she was born and raised in St. Bernard Parish, and that she supports local small businesses. Wilhoft is a member of the Knights of Columbus ladies auxiliary. The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization that opposes marriage equlity, abortion rights, and access to birth control.