Embattled judge returns to bench for first time since affair allegations
CONVENT - On Monday, a state district judge accused of engaging in an extramarital affair with an Assumption Parish Sheriff's deputy while presiding over criminal cases in Assumption Parish returned to the bench for the first time since allegations of the affair were revealed.
Judge Jessie LeBlanc had been on sick leave and returned to the bench in St. James Parish, Monday.
Judge LeBlanc is believed to have had an inappropriate relationship with former deputy Bruce Prejean while he served as the Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Criminal Deputy.
Last month, an ad hoc judge was appointed to hear cases for Judge LeBlanc while an investigation was launched into her alleged relationship with Prejean.
In late January, District Attorney Ricky Babin and Chief Public Defender Alan Robert filed a joint motion requesting that LeBlanc be recused from over 170 pending criminal cases in Assumption.
By the time Judge LeBlanc returned to the bench on Monday, that motion was still pending in Napoleonville.
While Prejean admitted to having an affair with Judge LeBlanc, she continues to deny that their relationship was anything other than friendly.
According to The Advocate, LeBlanc's attorney, Jill Craft, provided Judge Jason Verdigets, the chief judge for the 23 Judicial District, with a letter stating that LeBlanc's two-week absence from her duties was due to her being on sick leave until Friday, Feb. 7.