Judge who signed Cantrell recall petition asks Supreme Court to rule on possible recusal from case

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:45 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 1:03 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Judge Jennifer Medley, who reportedly signed the petition to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether she should recuse herself from the case and any future appeals involving the lowering of the number of signatures needed to trigger a recall election, court documents show.

According to the Times-Picayune, the only New Orleans media outlet that has received any number of petition signatures, Medley signed the petition in December.

On March 1, she heard arguments relative to a lawsuit filed by recall organizers against voting officials, claiming the Orleans Parish voter lists had nearly 30,000 ineligible names on them - people who had died or moved out of the parish and state.

The Secretary of State’s office and recall organizers came to an agreement to lower the threshold of signatures needed by roughly 5,000 names.

Judge Medley signed off on the agreement, drawing ire from Mayor Cantrell’s legal team, who filed two lawsuits challenging the agreement and questioning Medley’s ”vested interest.”

Organizers of the group Voice of the Experienced, or VOTE, asked for the recusal of Judge Medley “in the pursuit of judicial efficiency and the efficient administration of justice,” and for the case to be referred to another judge.

Medley responded to the group’s request by calling on the Supreme Court to decide what action should be taken.

“This Court is confident that any judicial duties performed in this proceeding have been and would be performed without bias or prejudice to any party. However, out of an abundance of caution, to ensure that any concerns that all parties may have are addressed, this Court will make a request for the Louisiana Supreme Court to appoint an ad hoc judge pursuant to La. CCP Article 155,” the document reads.


Mayor Cantrell files two lawsuits challenging recall petition

REPORT: Judge who approved lower number for Cantrell recall threshold signed petition

Election officials, Cantrell recall organizers reach agreement on number of active voters in Orleans Parish

Zurik: Inaccurate Orleans voter records spurred settlement in recall petitioners’ lawsuit

The lawsuit filed by Cantrell’s team claims Medley’s failure to disclose her signing of the petition was “patently unlawful.”

Attorney Marion Floyd, who is representing Mayor Cantrell, says the entire deal was illegal, claiming Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had no legal right or authority to change the number of active voters in the middle of a recall effort.

Floyd says he is hoping that a hearing will be scheduled later this month or in early April.

Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Sandra Wilson has until March 22 to certify over 17,000 pages of signatures turned in by recall organizers.

A spokesperson for the registrar’s office says 25 staffers are working nights and weekends to meet the deadline.

If enough signatures are verified, the petition will go to Governor John Bel Edwards’ desk to be put on a ballot.

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