I am State District Court Judge Frances Pitman, candidate for the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.
I have had the honor of serving you for 36 years as a State District Court Judge, Assistant Attorney General, prosecutor, family law mediator, speech pathologist and teacher. I would like to share with you some of my experience.
The first year after graduation from LSU Law School I had the privilege to be Judge Gayle Hamilton's law clerk. During that year Judge Hamilton presided over ten murder trials as well as numerous felony and misdemeanor matters. That year was wonderful since I was able to spend time in court observing how our judicial system works.
The next year I became Assistant Attorney General for the State of Louisiana, serving under 3 Attorneys General- two were Democrats and one was a Republican. For the next sixteen years I travelled North Louisiana representing you. I made court appearances in every jurisdiction in North Louisiana on your behalf. I prosecuted criminals, including first degree murder cases. I also tried road accident, medical malpractice, workers compensation, employment discrimination and election cases on your behalf.
In addition to all this litigation experience, I authored hundreds of Attorney General Opinions on issues ranging from rights of citizens with disabilities, to election laws, to interpretation of municipal charters and the constitutionality of state statutes, just to name a few.
Another responsibility of the Attorney General's Office is to teach the Justices of the Peace throughout the State about legal, procedural and ethical issues. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and organizing these seminars.
My husband and I became the first certified family law mediators in this area when we began North Louisiana Mediation Associates, L.L.C. I mediated many cases in which I encouraged parents to resolve their custody and visitation issues in an efficient and amicable manner.
Now I am a State District Court Judge, for the First Judicial District Court in Caddo Parish. The District Court is a court of general jurisdiction which has the authority to hear a wide range of cases, from traffic offenses to first degree murder, from open account collection cases to complex commercial disputes and from child custody matters to partitions of community property worth millions of dollars.
.....Now let me tell you about my life before I became a lawyer and a State District Court Judge.....
I enrolled at LSU-Shreveport and soon discovered how much I enjoyed teaching and working with those with disabilities. I majored in elementary education and speech therapy. I worked in schools, hospitals and treatment facilities throughout Shreveport and Bossier. My experiences included working in the Speech Clinic at LSU-S, Mollie Webb Speech and Hearing Center, Veterans Administration Hospital, Northwest Louisiana State School, Caddo Bossier Association for Retarded Citizens and A.C. Steere Elementary School. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Speech Therapy.
During my senior year at LSU-S, a Master of Communication Disorders program opened at LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport. I was accepted into the program and began work toward a Master's degree. I had the opportunity to again work at the Mollie Webb Speech and Hearing Center, and also in various clinics at LSUHSC and the Veterans Administration Hospital. At the VA Hospital I learned about the injuries so many of our service people face as a result of war.
I still go to LSUHSC and the VA where, as a State District Court Judge, I determine if a patient should be judicially committed. Again, I see the injuries, both physical and mental, to our veterans.
After receiving my Master's degree I became a Special Education Teacher and Speech-Language Pathologist for the Bossier Parish School Board and then was a Speech-Language Consultant for the Red River Parish School Board. In Bossier Parish I was a speech-language pathologist and was chosen to teach a special education class for children with severe speech and language disorders. That time was challenging, but rewarding. I still see some of my students who are now working at regular jobs and have families of their own. Red River Parish had a speech clinic which was set up in an RV. I supervised speech pathology college students from Northwestern State University. Along with those students I drove from Coushatta to Hall Summit and Martin and to the rest of the parish to provide evaluation and therapy services for students who needed them.
I then went back to LSUHSC as Speech-Language Pathologist on the medical and educational evaluation team at the Children's Center. This team provides services to all schools in North Louisiana which includes evaluations of children with special needs and giving support and information to their parents and teachers.
I began the first team which assessed children who could not talk and used computers to speak for them. I will never forget a fourteen-year-old boy who had never been able to talk. He learned to use a computer with speech capability and the first words he said were, " Mom I love you." It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember that joyful day. There were sad days too. I will always remember holding a mother's hand when she was told her second child had the same disease as her child who died the year before, and that her third child would also die.
As I look back on my life, I believe my experience as a State District Court Judge, Assistant Attorney General, Speech Pathologist, and Teacher make me uniquely qualified to be your next Louisiana Court of Appeal Judge for the Second Circuit. I understand the problems people face and also how our Courts are there to serve them. I have been a judge who understands the law and evidence, has the ability to always be fair and impartial and the wisdom to make the right decisions.
I ask for your prayers and your vote November 6th.
Judge Frances Pitman