- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A state appeals court panel has refused to dismiss the criminal indictment against departing Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King for allegedly lying about living in New Orleans when she qualified last year to run for the seat.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1Bfdd9F ) the decision was dated Monday, two days after local attorney Desiree Cook-Calvin won a runoff to replace King on the bench.

The ruling clears the way for state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office to move forward with the criminal case against King. No new court date was set as of Wednesday.

King, 57, was indicted in March on a felony charge of filing a false public document and a misdemeanor election code violation, accused of claiming a New Orleans address when she actually lived at a house she owns in Slidell.

Two months later, the Louisiana Supreme Court barred her from taking the bench pending a resolution of the criminal case. King ran third in a field of six in the November primary, booting her from the race. Her last day is Dec. 31.

For years, King claimed a homestead exemption on the St. Tammany Parish house, and she listed St. Tammany as her home parish in a bankruptcy filing in late 2012. By law, judicial candidates in Louisiana must have lived in the parish where they run for at least a year.

King is believed to be the first candidate for public office in Louisiana to be charged criminally over an allegation that is frequently lodged against would-be elected officials.

She claims the homestead exemption was a mistake that she rectified last year, just before her surprise runoff victory against former Jefferson Parish prosecutor Doug Hammel, who was backed by Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

King claims she was threatened by “political operatives” if she didn’t get out of the race, describing her prosecution as political payback.

King argued that prosecutors violated grand jury secrecy rules, and also that Caldwell’s office took on the case illegally, securing an indictment before Cannizzaro’s office formally recused itself in an April 2014 letter.

But an appeals court panel refused to overturn a judge’s ruling, finding he didn’t abuse his discretion.

King’s criminal attorney, Clarence Roby Jr., has called her prosecution “a quest for vengeance.”


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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