Tia Benton Mar. 27, 2013, 11:53am

COVINGTON – Early voting is under way for a 22nd Judicial District Court Division G judgeship covering both St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

The 12 judges elected to the 22nd JDC oversee both civil and criminal cases.

Trial attorney Alan Zaunbrecher and 22nd JDC assistant district attorney Scott Garder, both of whom are Covington-based Republicans, are running to replace Judge William J. Crain who won a seat on the 1st Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal last year.

“I believe I’ve developed the skill set to be of great service to people of the district,” Zaunbrecher said.

Zaunbrecher received a B.A. from Tulane University in 1976 and his J.D. from Tulane Law in 1979. He went on to receive a Masters of Law with Distinction from Tulane Law in 1992.

He has more than 30 years of experience in private practice, covering a wide variety of areas of law. He also has acted as a mediator for 11 years.

Zaunbrecher said he thought becoming the district’s newest judge would be the “perfect opportunity to give back to the people.”

In reference to what he believes he can bring to the judge’s bench that sets him apart from Gardner, Zaunbrecher cited his wide range of legal experience. He said his “33 years of trial experience across the state of Louisiana” is what qualifies him to serve as the new judge on the bench.

Zaunbrecher’s stance on tort reform revolves around the belief that the current state of tort law involves a great amount of “lawsuit abuse” and he also stated that “in some areas we have gone too far; but as judges our job is to interpret and apply the law passed by the legislature.”

Regarding court-related legislative action, Zaunbrecher said, "I believe we need to restore to the judiciary greater discretion in sentencing. I believe that recent legislation has taken the discretion away from the judges and I believe that creates an imbalance in the three branches. A justice’s job is to exercise discretion and too much has been taken away.”

Gardner has not responded to numerous requests from the Louisiana Record for comment.

However, his Facebook campaign page reveals that he has a combined 24 years as a prosecutor in the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office and in the 22nd Judicial District. He is a past recipient of the “Prosecutor of the Year” award and other awards as well. Campaign communications also tout Gardner’s work in training law enforcement agents and his handling of hundreds of felony trials.

Early voting in the race started on Saturday, March 23. The official election will be held on Saturday, April 6.

Be sure to check the Louisiana Record for updates and election results.

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