Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Paul Bonin says he is running for a seat on the criminal court bench because he believes his experiences give him insight into the type of reforms needed at the trial level.
“I’ve been a court of appeal judge for about eight years now and I feel that I am coming out of the replay booth, which is sort of what an appeal court judge does, and getting on the field and going to where the trouble is and seeing if I can help out by my own personality and temperament.
Bonin says that if elected to Section D, he will take an active role in cases early in the proceedings.
“I think the primary thing as the judge is to become much more active early in the case so that the judge is working to avoid wrongful convictions, which is a very serious problem,” he says. “Due process is not a hurry up and get this over; it’s not you have three minutes to make the decision; it’s none of that. When the judge gets involved very early on in a case and starts to find out what the case is about, what the (defendant) is saying, what the victims are saying—the judge is not sitting there and saying ‘well let me kick this down 14 years later to the appeal’s court to find out that somebody railroaded.”
Bonin adds that he will be an advocate for reform in Baton Rouge and within the system.
“All these laws they’re not working,” says Bonin. “We’ve got to restore the system to where the judge is making decisions . . . so we need judges to go up there and advocate for a better system. I think we need to address so many things because the constitution says assistance of counsel, speedy trial, no excessive bail all of this has to be addressed.”