Templeton pledges evenhanded approach to justice in Jefferson County
Judge Mitch Templeton made an emotional pledge to be a neutral arbiter from the bench after being sworn in Friday as the first Republican to preside over Jefferson County’s 172nd state District Court judge.
“I guarantee you I will be, and I will serve objectively and fairly no matter who’s in my courtroom,” Templeton following a courthouse ceremony attended by some 200 spectators.
Templeton likewise suggested that, in the future, Republicans and Democrats be sworn in at a joint ceremony. This week, as in past years, new county officials were sworn in on separate days, with Democrats on Wednesday and the Republican Templeton on Friday.
“Just a suggestion, I know I’m the new guy,” Templeton said.
County Clerk Carolyn Guidry, Treasurer Charlie Hallmark, Precinct 1 Constable Jevonne Pollard and Justice of the Peace Benjamin “Ben” Collins Sr. were sworn in Wednesday, by retiring state District Judge Donald Floyd.
Templeton is taking over for Floyd, who is retiring after nearly three decades in office.
Friday’s ceremony began with a prayer and introductory remarks by local attorney Gary Coker, who grew up with Templeton. Later, Templeton’s sons performed his first official robing.
Coker described Templeton as independent and honorable, saying he’s been impressed by Templeton’s fairness.
“I am confident Judge Templeton will call balls and strikes as he sees them and the strike zone won’t change from batter to batter,” Coker said.
Templeton said previously he’d also like to see the traditionally civil court hear criminal cases and strive to keep out of jail both the mentally ill and people would qualify for release but don’t have the money to make bond.