Suspect in attack on Orleans judge's husband pleads not guilty

Suspect in alleged attack of judge's husband pleads not guilty

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There was new information in the case involving an alleged attack on the husband of an Orleans Parish judge. The man charged, who happens to be an Alabama attorney, was in court Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty.

The attack was caught on surveillance video back in September. It shows the suspect, whom police have identified as Joshua Stemle, walk into the victim's French Quarter courtyard at 6 a.m. The victim, who is the husband of Criminal Court Judge Laurie White, confronted the suspect and asked him to leave. Instead, video shows the suspect begins throwing punches.

Stemle was originally booked with trespassing and municipal battery, something White was livid about because it's not even a state misdemeanor. 
The charge was later upgraded to home invasion, a felony. Local judges have recused themselves from the case. An outside judge was brought in for Wednesday's arraignment. Now, Stemle's attorney wants the district attorney to recuse himself.

"DAs recusing themselves from cases is a little less likely. The bar is higher. It may happen, and if it does, the attorney general I would assume would take over this prosecution. But I wouldn't be so sure that the DA's office pushes back and says, 'no we want to keep this case' because it would set a bad precedent," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

FOX 8 obtained an apology letter to Judge White from Stemle. In it, Stemle says, "prior to my entering your courtyard, I was attacked, knocked unconscious, and robbed of my wallet and phone. I am frankly quite foggy about the details of Sunday morning as I believe in looking back upon this horrible situation that I was suffering from a concussion, which was only exacerbated by the effects of consuming too much alcohol."

We reached out to Stemle's attorney. He said the NOPD had it right the first time, this was not a home invasion, and that the case has turned into a political football. He filed a motion Wednesday asking that the district attorney recuse himself because his staff appears in Judge White's courtroom everyday.

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