Civil District Court Judge Rose Ledet says she will run for the state Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in October. Ledet plans to run for the seat currently held by veteran appellate Judge Joan Bernard Armstrong, who is among the longest-serving public officials in New Orleans. Armstrong, who will turn 70 later this year — but after the close of qualifying on July 9 — has served on the appellate court since 1984 and is current chief judge. She began her judicial career as a Juvenile Court judge in 1974.
Some speculate that Armstrong, who is very close to the mandatory retirement age of 70 and can retire at full pay, may not run. She has not yet announced her intentions. "I plan to run for that seat no matter what," Ledet, 53, told Gambit last week at a $300-a-person campaign fundraiser at the Windsor Court Hotel. More than 150 people attended the event. Ledet says her campaign had approximately $30,000 on hand before last week's fundraiser, and she expects that total to rise to nearly $75,000 now.
Ledet was elected clerk of First City Court in 1990 and later was elected to Civil District Court in 1999. In recent years, Ledet has presided over several high-profile civil cases, including reporter Lee Zurik's lawsuit against Mayor Ray Nagin over the mayor's refusal to turn over his 2008 schedule and emails, and a suit by local software execs against Dell Computers and Nagin. In the former case, Ledet excoriated Nagin for failing to follow the state Public Records Act. The latter case ultimately led to federal indictments of former city IT chief Greg Meffert, his wife Linda Meffert and his former business partner Mark St. Pierre. — Clancy DuBos