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January 11 07:04 AM

Katherine Dorroh gears up for judicial campaign

GUEST COMMENTARY By JOHN E. SETTLE JR. jsettle123@aol.com

This is a weekly guest column that expresses the views and opinions of the writer. Those views do not necessarily reflect the views of The Inquisitor or its advertisers.

February 15, 2013 is the filing deadline for candidates to fill the vacancy on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals resulting from the retirement of Gay Gaskins and the now empty seat on the Caddo District bench vacated by Frances Pittmans’ election to the Second Circuit. Caddo District Judge Jeanette Garrett is a virtual lock for running unopposed for the Second Seat, and Katherine Dorroh is making a strong push to be the only candidate for the Caddo bench. The election is on April 6, 2013.

Dorroh has been in private practice with her own firm for ten years, having formerly practiced with Weiner, Weiss & Madison for eight years. Her primary emphasis is family law, and she is hopeful of presiding in one of the three family law sections.

Caddo’s court appointment system is based on seniority and generally court assignments are made on an annual basis. Presently the family law Judges are Bobby Waddell, Jeanette Garrett, and Mike Pittman (as of January 1, 2013).

Garrett’s expected victory will leave a family court slot open. Judge Craig Marcotte will have his choice to stay in drug court or move to the domestic bench when and if Garrett moves to the Second Circuit Court. Marcotte is expected to stay with drug court.

Assuming this scenario, Dorroh could move directly from her private practice to family court, which makes sense logically. The domestic bar is solidly behind Dorroh, hoping to avoid the experience of having another non domestic practitioner (i.e. Frances Pittman), on the family law bench. Dorroh would also bring a real world prospective to a court that needs practical decision making in emotionally charged cases.

Dorroh has approximately 300 attorney’s who have endorsed her campaign, and a good number of private citizens as well. Her campaign committee is up and running, and she has a good start on fund raising. She expects to have billboards posted by the end of Janu ary.

Dorroh is expected to run a strong race, and she will definitely benefit from her prior campaign experience. Finances are not expected to be a major challenge for her race, and her prominent standing in the legal community and social circles will serve her well in a contested campaign.

Too often, local judicial candidates have limited professional experience which hinders their effectiveness when donning the black robe. Additionally, the Caddo system of court selection, based on seniority versus designated judicial slots for designated courts (civil, family and criminal), often puts elected candidates in courts where they are inexperienced and/or unhappy. The stars are aligned in such a fashion the election of Dorroh would obviate these realities.

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