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|Sheriffs endorse Clark for Supreme Court|
Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney believes the next state Supreme Court justice for northeast and central Louisiana should be a friend to the law enforcement community.
That friend is 4th Judicial District Court Judge Marcus Clark, according to Toney.
Nineteen sheriffs stood beside Clark Wednesday to announce their support for his candidacy for Supreme Court justice. They gathered at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse.
Clark declared his intention last week to succeed Justice Chet Traylor, who recently announced his decision to retire from the state Supreme Court, effective May 31. A special election to fill Traylor's unexpired, 10-year term will be held in October. A run-off election, if needed, will be held in November.
Toney also said many members of the law enforcement community in the region remember Clark from his days as a detective for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office.
"For the last 12 years he has been an experienced and great district judge and a friend to law enforcement," Toney said. "The Louisiana Supreme Court is vital to our day-to-day operations in law enforcement."
Toney said the Supreme Court decides if law enforcement searches are valid. The Supreme Court also decides if sentences from district judges are correct. The court also determines if civil liberties have been violated, Toney said.
"They also protect citizen's rights, and that's what all of us in law enforcement are here to do," Toney continued. "Law enforcement needs to replace Justice Traylor with another friend to law enforcement. We need to replace him with someone who has had prior law enforcement experience."
Nineteen of the 20 sheriffs in Justice Traylor's district—the 4th District of the Supreme Court—support Clark, Toney said.
"Law enforcement needs Judge Marcus Clark to be our next Supreme Court justice," Toney said.
Clark said he was honored to have the support of law enforcement officers.
"I want to thank the sheriffs and the deputies for placing their lives on the line every day in our community while we sleep," Clark said. "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as a deputy sheriff just like these officers. And, as a prosecutor in the district attorney's office, this experience gives me the insight of what you have to do out there on the streets every day to protect our citizens and protect their rights and provide law and order."
Clark said he would bring that experience to the state level to "continue to work hard and uphold the trust that each of you place in me today."