Orleans Juvenile Court Judge indicted for filing false records

Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, shortly after her swearing-in ceremony.
Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King, shortly after her swearing-in ceremony.
An image of the Grand Jury indictment.
An image of the Grand Jury indictment.

Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King was indicted Thursday by a grand jury, according to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.

King was indicted on two felony counts for filing or maintaining false public records and an election code violation (supplying false documentation to an election official).

The indictment surrounds allegations concerning King's residency during election qualifying. King listed her domicile address as 5336 Stillwater Dr. in New Orleans East. The AG's office began looking in allegations that she was actually living St. Tammany Parish.

On May 4, after running for four previous judgeships, she beat Doug Hammel in a close runoff, capping off a race that turned ugly towards the end. Late in the campaign, questions surfaced about whether King was even qualified to run in Orleans Parish.

St. Tammany tax assessor records show, between the primary and runoff for Juvenile Court judge, King filed a request to have her homestead exemption in St. Tammany removed for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax years. The paperwork says, per King, she lives in Orleans Parish.

She kept the homestead exemption in place for 2007 through 2010, even though she qualified to run for Orleans Civil District Court Judge in 2008. On the qualifying form, she listed Stillwater Drive in New Orleans as her domicile address that year, too.

The Attorney General's office confirms the case was forwarded to them by the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office.  Orleans DA Leon Cannizzaro recused his office from the investigation and prosecution of the case.

King has a bond hearing set in Orleans Parish District Court on Monday.  An arraignment date has not been scheduled.

King could face up to five years in jail if convicted, according to state law.

In 2013, King referred all questions about the case to her attorney, who was not available for comment.

"The issue boils down to, are you a domiciliary of where you run? You're supposed to live where you run and serve as a judge. That's the law," said FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti said cases like this don't often make it as far as a grand jury indictment, so he said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell must feel he has a very good case.

"It's surprising. There's been a lot of challenges to people who have ran for office who allegedly did not live there, but you don't really see too much criminal prosecution of these types of cases," said Raspanti.

King's bond hearing is set for Monday. Raspanti said he does not think there will be a big bond set her since King will likely not be considered a flight risk.

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