Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Carl Sharp is retiring from the bench in July, though his term does not expire until December 2020.
In an April 2 proclamation from Secretary of State’s office, Gov. John Bel Edwards called for a special election to be held for the vacancy at the court, in the Division G office. A special election is required when more than a year of a judge’s term remains unexpired at the time a judge leaves office.
The primary election is expected to be held Nov. 6. If candidates advance to a run-off, that election would be held Dec. 8.
Qualifying for the special election will be held Wednesday, July 18, through Friday, July 20.
The Ouachita Citizen reached out to Sharp for a comment, but he was unavailable by the time the newspaper went to press Tuesday night.
Sharp was elected to the court in 1993. He was most recently re-elected in November 2014. In Louisiana, district court judges serve six-year terms.
In 2003, the state Supreme Court suspended Sharp for 60 days because he failed to render judgments in five separate cases and failed to accurately report those cases to the Office of the Judicial Administrator as under advisement. Supreme Court records show Sharp was the subject of other complaints about delays in deciding cases as well.
Accusations that Sharp filed a false report with the Supreme Court about which of his cases remained under advisement surfaced again in January 2016. At that time, Monroe attorney Sedric Banks filed a copy of Sharp’s monthly Report of Cases Under Advisement form to the Supreme Court into the court record. Sharp’s form showed no cases under advisement for more than 30 days.
Sharp’s form was incorrect, Banks argued, because Sharp had not yet ruled on a nearly three-month-old motion to recuse him from Robert A. Lee and Sedric E. Banks v. Kailash Dhaliwal, Ph.D., Karl Dhaliwal and Sookham Dhaliwal.
Meanwhile, Banks also worked as an attorney for Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III and Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman, both of whom filed separate lawsuits against district court judges, including Sharp. The allegations in Palowsky and Marchman’s lawsuit included the accusation that law clerk Allyson Campbell concealed 52 habeas corpus writs, or applications for post-conviction relief, in her office while she clerked for Sharp.
Some of the post-conviction relief applications and related filings had not been addressed in two to three years, court records show.