The following answers were provided by Bryan Haggerty running for City Judge City Court, City of Slidell:

1. Describe your prior court experience as a practicing attorney or government office holder, including any civil and criminal court trials, the number of jury and judge trials, and your record for settlements and plea bargains.

I currently serve as the City Attorney for the City of Slidell, the largest City in St. Tammany Parish.  I previously served as the Court Attorney for the City Court of Slidell under the late Judge Gary Dragon.  During my tenure with the City Court, I presided over the  Juvenile Drug Court (post adjudicated) for 18 months.

I have 20 years of legal experience in private practice.  I have tried and/or resolved hundreds of cases in the areas of juvenile delinquency, Child In Need of Care, Families In Need of Services, Adoptions, and Parental Terminations in five different jurisdictions.  I have tried and/or resolved successions, personal injury, insurance defense, adult misdemeanor and felony cases, contracts, workers compensation, and administrative law cases.

The City Court does not have jurisdictional authority for jury trials.  My experience includes primarily judge trials with limited jury trials.  It is essential to recognize that the rules of evidence, criminal and/or civil procedures, criteria for expert witnesses, legal pleadings, summary proceedings and motion practice do not change based on whether it is a judge trial or jury trial. In fact, most of the difference between the two specifically relate to the juries; such as jury selection, jury instructions, method of objections, and certain matters and procedures specific to jury trials. 

Consistent with the national statistics of cases, the vastmajority of cases are settled and/or compromised.  It often requires a greater legal skill level to settle and/or compromise a case versus trying the case. I have successfully mediated and/or negotiated settlements in cases where the values were in excess of a million dollars and it was in my client’s best interest.  I have also successfully negotiated plea bargains in both felony and misdemeanor cases, again when it was in my client’s best interest.

I have enjoyed great success in my private practice and public service.

2. Will you maintain a private law practice if elected? If so, what type of cases will you take?

No, I will be a FULL-TIME judge. 

My reasons for serving as a full-time judge.  The City Court of Slidell is complex and critically important, serving a population of approximately 102,000 people.  Respectfully, the City Court is not a Justice of the Peace Court.  There are significant differences between the courts.  The City Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court and like the District Court requires a highly experienced attorney to serve as its judge, whereas that requirement does not exist for the Justice of the Peace Court.  Moreover, the Justice of the Peace Court has no juvenile, criminal, traffic or adoption jurisdiction and its civil jurisdiction is limited to $ 5,000.00.  

The City Court requires someone who is extremely well trained and experienced with the operational and financial management side of the court. The City Court, unlike other courts, requires experience in money management, benefits, personnel, retirement, and all other facets of operating a million-dollar corporation.  In addition to my Jurist Doctorate, I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and experience in executive level business management.

3. Please describe your management and budget experience. How many and what types of employees have you supervised?

My educational background provides a solid foundation in both budgeting and management.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  I served as an ad hoc professor at Loyola University School of Business for both undergraduate and Pre-MBA studies.

In my current position as City Attorney, I have participated in the budget and management process for the City of Slidell. I have also participated in numerous executive level meetings to determine the viability of development projects and campaigns. I have prepared ordinances addressing both budgeting and management matters.  

I have participated in the preparation and review of personnel manuals that also included civil service procedures.  I am charged with addressing any claims for sexual harassment, participation in all pre-disciplinary hearings and final determinations, as well, as all civil service appeal matters.  I also participate in personnel matters to include the proper application of Family Medical Leave matters, EEOC claims, and unemployment compensation hearings. The City has approximately 320 employees.  My role as City Attorney requires my involvement in both budgeting and management discussions and processes of the City.

Prior to having successfully managed my private law practice for twenty years, I was a Senior Consultant for a multi-state multimillion-dollar Court Management firm.  As a Consultant, I participated in the assessment of court administrative processes, financial records analysis, and personnel assessment.  The charge of the Management firm was to implement and/or enhance the efficiency of Court services. 

I served as branch manager for a large multi-state multimillion-dollar corporation.  My duties included recruitment, training, and management of a large sales team, administrative support staff, budgeting, financing and marketing.  

I also served as Chief Operating Officer for a large healthcare staffing organization.  In my capacity, I supervised executive and middle management personnel.  

While serving in the United States Air Force, I was assigned to a Precision Measurement Equipment Lab, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and a War Readiness Unit, and Commander’s Office, Spangdalehm, Germany.  In each of these assignments, I was charged with the management of equipment and supplies.  These processes were critical in the support of our Country’s mission.

4. What are your beliefs regarding alternative sentences for non-violent offenders, juveniles, and people experiencing homelessness, mental illness, or drug addiction?

The determination for alternative sentences is based on the facts of each case and the application of the appropriate law as written. An evaluation of the totality of the circumstances as it relates to the individual’s criminal history, if any, and the severity of the offense.  In juvenile matters, a pre-sentencing evaluation is an excellent mechanism to assist the trier of fact in determining the appropriate consequence for the criminal act for which the juvenile has been convicted.

The Louisiana Children’s Code sets forth very detailed laws.  The Court, in many instances, is limited in the sentencing of a juvenile.  However, in the case of juveniles there are programs designed to identify and assist children with mental illness and/or drug addiction.  I am firmly committed to providing services to our youth.  

A distinction must be made between adult and juvenile cases.  The City Court does not have jurisdiction over adult felony cases regardless of whether that adult is homeless or is suffering from mental illness and/or drug addiction.  

The Court can use tools such as community service and other community programs to assist homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction, prior to and following sentencing.  The Court will reach out to service providers to facilitate counseling and other programs to assist with mental illness and anger management programs, as it sees fits based on the individual circumstances of each case.

5. The City Court is funded primarily by court cost assessments and other fees for services. Does this represent a conflict of interest? Should other sources of funding be sought, and, if so, what sources would you explore? 

The Louisiana Legislature has enacted specific laws that identify agency fees.  These fees are not determined by the Court.

Court cost assessed in criminal cases is statutorily based. Considering same, I do not believe there is a conflict of interest for the Court in the assessment of court cost in criminal matters.  

The City Court differs from the District Court as it relates to its funding source.  The City Court of Slidell receives very limited financial support from the Parish despite the fact that approximately 72% of all cases that come before the Court generate from outside of Slidell City limits.  I am committed to evaluating the statutory construction of that funding statute to expand and seek greater contribution from the Parish. The name of the Court, “City Court of Slidell”, is misleading. This Court is the Court for essentially all of East St. Tammany Parish, its funding should reflect that fact.

In addition, I am committed to working with our Legislature to secure a funding source from the State and to increase contributions from the Parish. 

There are Federal, State and Private grants available for various programs that I will identify, seek and acquire to support the efforts of the Court.

Thank you for your consideration.

Bryan D. Haggerty