District Judge Division 1 race getting heated - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

District Judge Division 1 race getting heated

District Judge Division 1 candidates (Source: WAFB) District Judge Division 1 candidates (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The two candidates running for District Judge Division 1 are wasting no time attacking each other in their ads.

"Mike Caldwell is relentlessly attacking me because I am shining a light on his record,” said Randy Piedrahita.

"I have never seen a judicial race where it has been based with such rancor and tone - and as misleading as what's being put out by my opponent,” said Mike Caldwell..

Caldwell has been a judge for almost two decades. His opponent Piedrahita is an accomplished attorney who says Caldwell is only half a judge because he only hears civil cases.

“We have a crime problem in Baton Rouge. We need help,” said Piedrahita. “We need judges who are willing to hear criminal cases and the more judges that are willing, the better it will be."

Problem is independent observers say it actually is better for a judge to focus either on civil or criminal cases. Because of the sheer volume of cases if a judge tries to hear both things slow way, way down.

“It just doesn't work,” Caldwell said. “They've tried it. It's not efficient. This court has operated like this for 40 years. When I got out of law school, this court was already divided I civil and criminal."

Another contentious issue? Both men are Republicans, but it hasn't always been that way. Caldwell says Piedrahita actively supported liberal politicians like Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama and actually worked for the Democratic party.

"I did support Barack Obama when I was a democrat,” Piedrahita said. “I supported democratic candidates and I made a mistake and I learned from that."

On another issue, Judge Caldwell admits he needs to make a change too.

“I do my best to be prepared and sometimes when attorneys aren't very prepared I can be - unfortunately a little gruff” Caldwell said. “I'm going to change that. That's one of the things this campaign made me realize and I will change that in the future."

The election is Nov. 4.

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