A Message from Walter May to the voters of Claiborne, Bienville and Jackson Parishes:
My opponent, instead of running on his own record, has resorted to going negative with personal attacks. Right now, he is advertising on Facebook, using a reprimand letter I received from the state supreme court in 2005. To understand where that letter came from, you have to understand the circumstances surrounding the Stephanie Pepper Sims murder in 2003. Stephanie was a lovely young woman who taught at Louisiana Tech, and dedicated her life to the service of others. She was brutally shot and killed and her body left in the woods by her boyfriend.I was the prosecutor on the case. The defense attorney was consistently unprepared and refused to file even the most basic preliminary motions necessary to get the case moving to trial. Weeks turned into months and still nothing was done. Stephanie’s parents are two of the finest Christian people you could meet. Month after month they watched quietly as continuances were granted by the court. A reporter from the now-defunct Jackson Independent newspaper repeatedly asked me “what I really thought” about the delays. I finally responded with what I understood to be an off-the-record comment critical of the judge’s handling of the delays. Not only did the reporter not keep it off the record, he also secretly recorded it and released it to the media. It was turned over to the bar association. This is why I received a reprimand. I made a mistake. I was later called up to Iraq and could not personally finish the case, but the defendant was found guilty, largely because of the evidence that I had compiled. It’s important to remember that my role as district attorney was to protect and serve the people of Jackson, Bienville, and Claiborne Parishes. I took that role very seriously, and I was frustrated by the continual delays in a murder trial and the impact of those delays on people who had already suffered trauma as a result of the murder. This goes to the very heart of why I’m running for judge. I will always be prepared and I will make every effort to ensure that the attorneys for both sides are prepared. A judge must make sure that court dates and proceedings are moved along in a timely manner. The voters have a clear choice in this election. As district attorney for 18 years, my office set records for trials and convictions. I personally prosecuted 25 major felony jury trials. But, early in my career, I also served as Chief Indigent Defender. So I have worked both sides and know the responsibilities of both sides. I have always worked hard and I will work hard as judge. In the past 6 years, my opponent has not conducted an actual trial as a prosecutor. He had one case where he picked a jury one day and then gave a sentencing deal the next day to the defendant to plead “guilty as charged” before the trial could proceed. The negotiated sentence included dismissal of multiple other charges and an agreement not to prosecute the defendant as a multiple repeat offender. The defendant was a convicted felon with a long rap sheet, who avoided a longer sentence because my opponent gave him a sentencing deal. As part of the deal, Avery also allowed the defendant to serve time on two crimes at the same time. My opponent brags that the defendant got 54 months when the sentence was handed down in November 2017. Yet the defendant was out and arrested again in August 2020, this time for aggravated second degree battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Case: 2016-CR-51642). It may have been a good idea for my opponent to have not dismissed so many charges. The truth is, my opponent never conducted an actual trial as a prosecutor. His entire felony jury trial experience comes from defending criminals while he was the indigent defender, criminals charged with crimes such as murder and other violent crimes. It matters that my opponent never conducted trials during his six years as a prosecutor and gave everyone a plea bargain. It makes our communities less safe. Criminals do not go to jail or they receive reduced sentences for their crimes. They walk into the courtroom knowing that they will never, ever go to trial. But here’s why it matters when choosing a judge. Jury trials take effort. There is a lot of preparation and hard work. The taxpayers paid my opponent $360,000 over six years to do that hard work and he chose not to, while still working at his full-time private law practice. A judge owes it to the voters to do his very best. You can see how hard someone is going to work in the future by how hard he worked in the past. If elected judge, I will continue to work hard for the people of Claiborne, Bienville, and Jackson Parishes. I will treat all sides fairly and I will run my court with honesty and integrity. I humbly and respectfully ask for your vote for district judge IN DIVISION A.