Incumbent, former employee square off in race Clerk of Criminal Court
Robbie Keen, a former worker in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Clerk’s office, has resigned her position to run for the office’s top job.
She says her decision to run for the office was propelled by wanting to end what she see as a current waste of taxpayer money on outdated processes and that she plans to create auditable, modern, accountable and professional evidence, records and financial systems for the Clerk’s office if elected.
As a custodian of records for the court, Keen says “the judges need to trust the clerk’s office or there’s no reason to have one.” She sees herself as a worker and a doer who leads by example.
She wants to make this office an asset to all stakeholders and partners – Criminal Court Judges, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s office, private attorneys and the Orleans Criminal Sheriff.
Under her care, she says, the Office will be administrative, not political, she adds.
If elected, Keen says she plans to revamp the Clerk of Criminal Court’s website into “a useful tool that can be accessed by all of our principal criminal justice partners and client stakeholders, not a series of non-functioning links to other agencies.”
A practicing attorney for 30 years and Criminal Court clerk since 2006, Arthur Morrell is seeking re-election because he “enjoys working and helping people.”
In addition to his 23 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives, he has served on numerous boards and commissions, locally and state wide.
“I believe that improving our community and living conditions for all is a worthy endeavor,” says Morrell. “I know how the office operates. I make sure people get a fair trial.”
Morrell is especially proud of the $1.4 million federal grant his office secured to help sort and organize and categorize evidence. Grant funding is key for his office when he can secure it, says Morrell, adding that he believes the clerk’s office is underfunded.
Even as he continues to explore legal channels t in an attempt to secure more funding from the city, Morrell says he is committed to doing all he can to make sure the office runs as effectively as possible. He is cross-training employees where possible, he says.
“We’re still shorthanded, but we don’t have a source of revenue,” says Morrell.
Among his accomplishments he counts the restoration of the Criminal Clerk’s office after Katrina when 35 percent of its contents had to be re-mediated or destroyed. Other accomplishments are updating the functioning of the office and the filing system to better meet the demands of the ongoing court case load and reorganizing the evidence and property rooms to better meet the needs and demands of trial courts.