Judge Wilford Carter's recusal hearing

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was decided by Judge Ware on Thursday afternoon that there was not enough evidence to recuse Judge Wilford Carter from 12 cases as requested by the office of the state's Attorney General.

"What we have, is a sitting judge that has made accusations of the attorney general's office, saying that the attorney general's office suborns perjury, encourages witnesses to lie, and threatens its witnesses. What we decided was if he has that perception of our office, obviously he can't be fair to us on any case we have in front of him," said Kurt Wall with the State Attorney General's Office.

Another factor that plays in the attorney general's office seeking Carter's recusal, is an issue surrounding some of Carter's family.

"Our office is responsible for prosecuting his sons. We didn't ask for those cases, the District Attorney's office recused those cases. It is our duty to prosecute them. I feel like, while we are prosecuting them, he should not sit on cases," said Kurt Wall.

The attorney general's office played a recording at the recusal hearing of a taped conversation between Judge Wilford Carter and his son Jay Norris Carter. Jay Norris Carter was in jail at the time for an alleged parole violation.  On the recording, Judge Carter can be heard reprimanding his son for breaking the law. But, he also made comments like "That white judge put you in jail."- Wilford Carter, and "I'll call Judge Waldron,"- Judge Carter, the sitting judge on the case against his son.

The attorney general's office feels that Judge Carter was too involved in his sons case, and at the same time, railroading their case. But, opposing counsel said these matters are unrelated to the twelve cases in question at the hearing.

"The attorney general was really seeking special treatment. They were seeking to have Judge Carter disqualified from any case that the attorney general enrolled in. That is not the rule of law," said Attorney Rudie Soileau.

In the end, Judge Ware ruled against the motion submitted by the attorney general's office to recuse Judge Carter from any current and future cases that they were enrolled in Ware referred to Thursday's proceedings as extraordinary and rare.

"It was a daunting task that was imposed upon me. But, I accepted it gladly, and it is part of the job. I ran for the job, I got the job, and now I have to do the job," said Judge Ware.

The attorney general's office plans to appeal Judge Ware's decision.

At one point, the court bailiff had to be called in, as both sides became confrontational and started yelling at each other.

7 News asked to speak with Judge Carter after the hearing. He declined our request.

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