Questions raised over federal judge's hire
BATON ROUGE- Tonight there are serious questions about whether a federal judge in Baton Rouge should be using better judgement. Last year, the News 2 Investigative Unit found a convicted felon had unfettered access to the judge's home.
Both issues involve Judge Shelly Dick. The most recent involves her hiring of an employee who happens to be the wife of US Attorney Walt Green. Attorney Katherine Krupa Green serves as Judge Dick's law clerk, which carries a large responsibility.
"This is a person who is a confidant to the judge who confers with the judge regarding decisions the judge makes," Southern Law Professor Shenequa Grey said. "They discuss the merits of cases how the court should rule on outcomes."
Katherine Green serves as the right hand for Judge Dick.
"It's certainly not a desirable situation that I would think any judge would want to be in, and I wouldn't have even thought a judge would put themselves in that situation," Grey said.
Sources told News 2 that Katherine Green began working for the Judge before her husband became the US Attorney. Before that, she worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division. Last year, News 2's Investigative Unit found convicted felon Dwaine Hodges coming in and out of Judge Shelly Dick's home. It happened while Hodges awaited sentencing in a bribery case tied to former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
"It is not a good thing to have this situation present itself right behind the last situation and in such a short period of time after being appointed to the position," Grey said.
Court records show the US Attorney's Office handled 172 cases last year which included both civil and criminal cases. The News 2 Investigative Unit has learned Katherine Green wasn't involved in any of those cases last year which raises even more legal questions.
"It does make you wonder what is the purpose of having this person working in the office and is it a waste to have a person in the office who can't work on those cases, no doubt about it," Grey said.
Currently, News 2 has learned Green is recused from all cases that the US Attorney's Office is involved in. Still, Grey believes all parties that go before Judge Dick should be given the courtesy of disclosure regarding the close relationship of a staffer married to the US Attorney in the Middle District of Louisiana.
"They basically serve no use to the judge," Grey said. "It should not occur and if this person is working in the office, this is information everyone should be made very well aware of."