Clare Jupiter wins run-off for Orleans Parish Civil District Court bench
Alejandro de los Rios Nov. 22, 2011, 4:43am
New Orleans attorney Clare Jupiter has won a run-off election for the final seat on the Orleans Parish Civil District Court bench against another New Orleans attorney, Nakisha Ervin-Knott.
The runoff election came after a closely contested three-way race between Jupiter, Ervin-Knott, and New Orleans attorney Kris Kiefer.
Jupiter earned 14,961 votes to Erin-Knott's 10,057 in the runoff and will take charge of the Civil District Court Division E bench.
Ervin-Knott competed in the runoff despite a recent ruling that Ervin-Knott's campaign violated judicial code of conduct.
The Louisiana Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee ruled last week that Ervin-Knott made false allegations about Kiefer in her campaign. Ervin-Knott accused Kiefer of being "a drunk" in ads run on television and websites YouTube and Facebook.
The Oversight Committee ruled that Ervin-Knott had insufficient evidence to back her allegations, but had no power to reprimand her or halt the advertisements.
The ruling came just a day before Ervin-Knott received 36 percent of the vote in the three-way race for the Orleans Parish Civil judgeship, while Jupiter received 34 percent and Kiefer received 30 percent.
After being eliminated from contention, Kiefer publicly endorsed Jupiter for the judgeship.
Jupiter is a partner at Bryan & Jupiter APLC and has specialized in education and tort defense law for 30 years. She formerly served as general counsel for the OPSB and currently serves on the Louisiana State Bar Association Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Ervin-Knott is a political neophyte but has served as a plaintiff attorney in New Orleans since 1998 after graduating from the Southern University Law Center.
In the race for the Civil District Court Division B bench, New Orleans attorney Regina Bartholomew won in a landslide, taking 63 percent of the vote over opponent Ellen Hazeur.
Just over 51,000 votes were cast in the race for the Division B seat with over 51,000 cast for the Division E seat.
The Louisiana Secretary of State's office reported that the turnout statewide elections were the lowest they have ever been since 1975.