- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State District Judge Trudy White describes East Baton Rouge Parish’s domestic abuse problem as an epidemic.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1m1uaOx ) White and her fellow 19th Judicial District Court criminal judges huddled Wednesday to discuss the possible creation of a domestic violence court in the parish.

“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, it’s at epidemic proportions right now,” White stressed, adding she supports Judge Don Johnson’s call for a domestic violence court.

Judge Tony Marabella, who has presided over the 19th Judicial District’s drug court for a decade, said after the judges’ meeting that 30 percent to 40 percent of the bonds he sets are in domestic abuse cases.

“It’s a very difficult problem,” Marabella acknowledged. “It’s getting more prevalent. It really is an epidemic. It’s not an easy subject to address.”

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III told the judges there were 14 domestic violence-related murders in the parish in 2012, and while that number fell to four last year, his office continues to be inundated with domestic violence-related arrests.

“I think specialty courts are certainly something we should consider,” the district attorney said after the meeting.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Marabella added, especially if the court can coordinate its efforts with East Baton Rouge Parish Family Court - which is located inside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse - and Baton Rouge City Court.

Moore offered to assign a representative from his office to work with the judges as they study the idea of a domestic violence court.

Since 1997, Louisiana has led the nation in the number of domestic homicides, according to figures provided by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com