Judge Canaday admits misconduct in Lake Charles murder case

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Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 7:35 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A Calcasieu Parish judge admitted to misconduct, during a hearing before the Judiciary Commission Friday, according to Nola.com.

Fourteenth Judicial District Court Judge Michael Canaday sat before the Louisiana Judiciary Commission on Friday, March 24, due to judicial misconduct allegations stemming from his handling of the Dennis Jerome Bartie case.

Bartie is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Rose Born in her doughnut shop in 1998. The case was considered cold until Bartie was arrested in 2016. Bartie is currently in prison serving time for attempted second-degree murder, in a separate case.

Canaday was eventually recused from the case.

Staff Writer John Simerman, of Nola.com and The Advocate, has written several stories on Canaday’s actions in the case and covered Friday’s hearing.

Canaday turned transcripts from funding hearings that involved only him and the defense over to the prosecution without the defense’s knowledge, and was communicating with members of the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office about the case without including the defense. The transcripts allegedly contained defense strategy.

“I never thought I would actually be in front of this group, to be quite candid,” Canaday told the Commission. “The fact that I am is an embarrassment to me.”

According to Simerman, the commission alleged Canaday violated a host of judicial canons.

Canaday told the commission he believed prosecutors would alert Bartie’s lawyers to their motion to unseal the transcripts, but admitted he gave the state too much credit.

Commissioner John D. Fitzmorris Jr. told Canaday it appeared that he operated as a judge based more on the lawyers involved rather than the weight of their arguments.

“I believe I was kind of caught up in a perfect storm. I created a situation. I made legal error. I committed judicial impropriety,” Canaday said. “I was lax, and I should have made changes years and years ago.”

Canaday said that his 2020 re-election will be his last as he ages out of office.

The Office of Special Counsel has recommended Canaday be publicly censured and reimburse the $1,000 incurred in the investigation and prosecution of the case. The Judicial Commission has yet to announce its decision.