Judge Sharon Ingram Marchman has served with distinction on the Fourth Judicial District Court bench in Division B for the past 20 years.
She’s up for re-election and is being opposed by Monroe attorney Tommy Hayes. The election is Nov. 3.
Over the past 16 years, or since 2004, Marchman has presided over juvenile court and adult drug court. Along the way she established a drug court specifically for juveniles and an adult court solely for DWI offenders. The recognitions Marchman has garnered for her work in dealing with juvenile offenders and adults who have become addicted to drugs are too numerous to name. A small sampling includes the Champion of Louisiana Juvenile Justice Award, the MacArthur Models for Change’s Model Juvenile Court Award, the James Sharp Justice Award and the Louisiana Association of Drug and Specialty Courts’ Jake Hadley Award.
Marchman also served as chief judge at Fourth Judicial District Court, and at one point or another in her career as a jurist she has served on the Louisiana Judicial Ethics Committee, chair of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission and president of the Louisiana District Judges Association. She spent some time on an FBI task force on human trafficking, too.
Much to our liking, Marchman is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and she’s POST certified to conceal carry.
Marchman is widely known for speaking up when she believes someone is in the wrong, and that trait, while admirable to those who detest wrongdoing of any sort, has earned her the disdain of many and the appreciation of a few. That helps explain, though, why Marchman — after 20 years on the bench — drew an opponent in this election cycle.
It’s no hidden secret Marchman is not a fan favorite in the legal community in Monroe — particularly north Monroe — but such is life for an elected official, particularly an elected official like Marchman. Simply put, the old guard does not appreciate someone who is not afraid to challenge the status quo.
To fully understand why she drew an opponent, one must remember it was Marchman who blew the whistle on questionable behavior by a law clerk and no less than five judges at the district court — otherwise known as the Fabulous Five. Partly because Marchman spoke up, a Monroe business remains engaged in a more than five-year-old lawsuit against the law clerk and the Fabulous Five over the allegation that the clerk destroyed documents the businessman filed with the court in a separate lawsuit. The Fabulous Five, it is alleged, conspired to cover it up. That lawsuit — Stanley R. Palowsky III v. Allyson Campbell and others — is on appeal again in light of the Fabulous Five bucking a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that instructed the Fabulous Five to be deposed by Palowsky, under oath.
Not too terribly long ago, our friends at the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry announced they would take a more active role in judicial elections across the state. LABI, it seems, had become disgruntled with the rules that restrict the public’s access to complaints filed against judges for wrongdoing at the Louisiana Judiciary Commission. In other words, LABI apparently has embarked on a campaign to rid the courts of errant judges.
We salute LABI for recognizing the courts in Louisiana — including district courts — are riddled with ethically challenged judges.
Recently, however, LABI endorsed Marchman’s opponent in this election, and upon further inspection, the endorsement made sense. That would be the case because a campaign consultant hired by Hayes also works as a consultant from time to time for LABI. Go figure.
If LABI had done its homework, it would have discovered Marchman was not one of the errant judges who needed to be run off the bench. Instead, she is an example of a judge who meets — even surpasses — LABI’s idea of a good judge. Besides, she already has a track record of calling out wrongdoing when she sees it, including her brethren on the bench.
That reason, among many others, is why Judge Sharon Marchman should be re-elected.