Nakisha Ervin-Knott is challenging an 18-year incumbent for Civil District judge, pledging to instill a sense of respect for people in the courtroom and timeliness in how their cases are handled.
She said her energy, efficiency, and her willingness to work set her apart from Judge Lloyd J. Medley Jr, who is seeking his fourth term.
“Efficiency starts with the judge,” she said. “I believe once you are elected, it doesn’t mean you’re invincible.”
Ervin-Knott is an attorney with Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, where she said she deals with family law, personal injury, and a variety of other areas that Civil District court judges see on their dockets.
Ervin-Knott said she knows it will be difficult to unseat Medley, but she believes people in court will benefit if she wins.
“All parties who come before the court, no matter their race, party, socio-economic background or gender, deserves equal access to justice,” she said.
Ervin-Knott accused Medley of treating some women unfairly in court.
“There has been, unfortunately, a disparity in the way women attorneys have been treated in this division,” she said. “Women have been publicly admonished, often times in front of their clients and other attorneys.”
Medley said he has never heard any complaints about how he has treated people in court.
Ervin-Knott said the court isn’t well-run.
Medley’s court, she said, “has a reputation of taking an unusually long period of time to grant trial dates” and hearings. Trials are often rescheduled for “non-meritorious reasons,” which cost time and money.
For example, she said Medley pushed back a 2002 trial start date until 2010. He then recused himself for personal reasons.
“The judge recused himself on the day of trial, in the middle of jury selection, citing a conflict because both he and one of the parties attended the same high school, albeit more than 20 years apart,” Ervin-Knott said.
According to court records, Medley recused himself from the case in 2012.
Ron Nabonne, Medley’s campaign manager, said Medley knew one of the parties in the case. “The parties did not appear in court until this time,” he said.
“This is another example of Judge Medley’s opponent taking cases that are not unusual to make it look like there is some mismanagement,” he said. There was “nothing unusual or improper about this case.”
This is Ervin-Knott’s second attempt to join the the Civil District bench. She lost a 2011 Division E runoff to Clare Jupiter.
Lens staff reporter Charles Maldonado contributed to this story.
This story was updated after publication to include a response from Medley’s campaign about the case that he recused himself from. (Oct. 24, 2014)