Candidates for open 21st JDC seat tout experience, differ on issues most pressing on the bench

Candidates vying for 21st JDC judgeship differ in opinions of most important issues in Livingston Parish

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - William Dykes and Colt Fore are both vying for the open judge seat on the 21st Judicial District Court (JDC) left by Beth Wolfe, who vacated her seat to serve on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dykes has spent the last 13 years serving as an asst. public defender in the 21st. Over the last 18 years, he has served as the magistrate for Springfield, the town attorney for Killian, and worked for the Pittman Law Firm in Denham Springs.

William Dykes has served as a public defender in the 21st JDC for the last 13 years. He said that experience makes him the most qualified to serve as judge.
William Dykes has served as a public defender in the 21st JDC for the last 13 years. He said that experience makes him the most qualified to serve as judge. (Source: WAFB)

“I’ve done just about any kind of case that will come before a district court judge,” Dykes said. “As a public defender, I’ve handled any kind of case that would come before me, from misdemeanors to first degree, non-capital murder, capital cases.”

His challenger, Colt Fore, touts the last eight years of his career specializing in civil and criminal litigation on both the federal and state levels.

Colt Fore has spent the last eight years litigating civil and criminal cases on both the state and federal level. He said his experience with “complex” legal matters gives him a unique advantage for the position.
Colt Fore has spent the last eight years litigating civil and criminal cases on both the state and federal level. He said his experience with “complex” legal matters gives him a unique advantage for the position. (Source: WAFB)

“I’ve got a lot of trial experience,” Fore said. “Some years I’d do over a hundred trials and in some cases I’d represent over a thousand people and I think it’s the complex litigation I’ve done compared to the types of litigation he’s done that makes me more qualified for the job.”

The two are running as Republicans but that is where the similarities end. They differ when it comes to what the most pressing issues are facing the 21st.

Dykes said he sees the drug and crime problems facing the region as needing the most attention.

“The biggest I see are drug issues, that’s what we deal with,” Dykes said. “The majority of the time it’s criminal court. That’s a lot of what we do, it takes up a lot of time, it’s a big docket.”

Fore said it is not the criminal issues he views as the most pressing though, rather the influx of money the region is still seeing from the 2016 flood.

"We have drug issues here, but the entire nation has drug issues, Fore said. “So you can harp on that all you want to but we have a tremendous amount of funding coming in to improve our drainage system in the area and I think that’s the number one thing.”

Both say their experience will help tackle these issues once they are on the bench.

“In all my years, I’ve seen a lot of people, helped a lot of people, and what I’m saying is there’s programs out there that aren’t being used, people don’t know about them and trying to cut down on recidivism, people,” Dykes said.

“We make decisions every day that affect them whether they’re in court or not, and those decisions we make affect them in their school system, , our sewage system, we look at things every day,” Fore said. It’s not just crime."

Election day is Nov. 3.

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