Charles Scott

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Charles Rex Scott, II


District Attorney for Caddo Parish, Louisiana
In office
2009 – April 22, 2015
Preceded by Paul J. Carmouche
Succeeded by Dale Grover Cox, Jr. (interim)

James E. Stewart, Sr. (permanent)


Judge of the Louisiana 1st Judicial District Court
In office
1982–2007
Preceded by New position

Born July 3, 1947
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Died April 22, 2015
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Alexis Phariss Scott
Children Charles Scott, III

Kelly Scott Padgett

Alma mater Northwestern State University

Louisiana State University Law Center

Religion Baptist

Charles Rex Scott, II (July 3, 1947 – April 22, 2015), was an American lawyer who served as district attorney for Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana from 2009 until his sudden death in office. Before his tenure as district attorney, he was a judge of the Louisiana 1st Judicial District from 1982 to 2007.[1]

Background

A native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Scott, often called "Scotty", was one of three children of Charles Mercer Scott, Jr. (1917-1971), and the former Marie Baucum (1916-deceased). He graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and thereafter received his Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge.[2][3]

Scott and his wife, the former Alexis Pharris, a former educator with the Caddo Parish School Board, have two children, Charles Scott, III, and daughter Kelly Scott Padgett, and seven grandsons.[2]

Judicial life

Scott was an assistant city attorney in Shreveport from 1971 until 1973 during the administration of Mayor Calhoun Allen. He was an assistant district attorney from 1973 until August 1, 1980, when he was elected without opposition as city judge to succeed the late Nolan Harper. In 1982, he ran for a newly established Caddo District Court judgeship, again without opposition, and served until he stepped down as chief judge. He came out of retirement to run in 2008 for DA.[3]

Scott was also a relief juvenile court judge in Caddo Parish and an ad-hoc appellate judge on the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in Shreveport.[4] He served as president of the Louisiana District Judges Association and the Second Circuit Judges Association. As DA, he was the immediate past president of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association.[2] Scott was chairman of the North Louisiana Crime Lab, which services twenty-nine of the sixty-four parishes. At the time of his death, a crime lab was under construction on Linwood Avenue near the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport.[3] He was a member of the Governor's task forces on Violent Crimes and Homicide and Child Support Enforcement. He was a member of the Committee to Study Proper Court Reporting in Louisiana. He was an adjunct professor in the Louisiana State University in Shreveport paralegal program. He was active in the American Inns of Court, which seeks to strengthen professionalism and ethics in the legal profession.[2]

Scott volunteered for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse of Northwest Louisiana. Judy Williams, the former council president, compared him to "a coach, someone to encourage [the alcoholics and drug abusers]. He made them aware of the consequences, but he came to know them personally ... by name, their situations. He always ended with an encouragement — 'Keep up the good work' or 'I know you're going to do well.'"[5]

On October 1, 1994, Judge Scott ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana Supreme Court. Appeals Court Judge Henry Newton Brown, Jr., the former district attorney for neighboring Bossier and Webster parishes, led a three-candidate field in the nonpartisan blanket primary with 43,811 votes (37.5 percent). In second place was Brown's circuit judge colleague, Jeffrey P. Victory of Shreveport, then a Democrat and later a Republican convert, who received 36,522 (31.27 percent). Scott finished third with 36,480 votes (31.23 percent), 42 critical ballots behind Victory and was thus eliminated from the race.[6] In the second round of balloting on November 8, 1994, Victory prevailed over Brown, 69,864 (53 percent) to 62,048 (47 percent). Supreme Court terms in Louisiana extend for ten years.[7] Victory has since retired from the Supreme Court; Brown remains on the circuit court.

In 2008, after retiring as a district judge, Scott returned to public life to run for district attorney to succeed Paul J. Carmouche, a Democrat originally from Assumption Parish in South Louisiana, who instead ran for Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat and lost narrowly to the Republican John Fleming, who still retains that seat. Scott polled 29,419 votes (61.5 percent) to fellow Democrat and criminal defense attorney Craig Smith's 18,424 (38.5 percent).[8] The 2008 race for DA was the first one contested in the thirty years since Carmouche was elected in 1978. Scott was unopposed for a second six-year term as DA in 2014.

Early in 2014, Scott obtained the release of death row inmate Glenn Ford from the Louisiana State Penitentiary when new information was uncovered regarding Ford's conviction for the 1983 murder of Shreveport jeweler Isadore Rozeman. Ford was found to have not been present when Rozeman was killed. Scott began working to solve the cold case.[9]

Death in office

Scott died at the age of sixty-seven of a heart attack[10] in the Cook Hotel in Baton Rouge, where he was on DA and legislative business. His heart condition had been undiagnosed. An autopsy was performed by his friend, Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Gary Thoma (born June 1957).[11] Scott was the first DA in Louisiana to die in office since Terry Reeves (1946-2005) committed suicide in Winn Parish.[12][13]

Services were held on April 27, 2015 at the Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, where he and retired Judge Jeffrey Victory, his former opponent, have been long-term members. Later in 2015, Scott was posthumously inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.[2]

His family did not disclose his place of interment. His grandfather, Charles Rex Scott I (1881-1949), his parents, and his brother, Charles M. Scott, Jr. (1950-2012), are all interred at Fern Park Cemetery in Natchitoches.[14][15]

First Assistant DA Dale Grover Cox, Jr. (born January 1948), a Republican,[16] succeeded Scott in office under provisions of the Louisiana state constitution. He took office in a private courthouse ceremony. Cox first confirmed that he would seek election to the position.[1][12] However, in July 2015, Cox announced that he would not seek the position in the special election.[17]

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said that he had a close working relationship with Scott and lamented the DA's death: "It's a huge blow to everybody in law enforcement. There will be a lot of change. The D.A.'s office is kind of like the sheriff's office where there's a philosophy at the top that permeates throughout the organization. His family should be very proud of his accomplishments as the district judge and as the D.A."[1] Prator recalled how Scott worked tirelessly to obtain funds for the crime lab: "He was the president of that commission, and he certainly was a champion for that. And he was instrumental in how we were able to get the jail population down."[3]

Mayor Ollie Tyler of Shreveport, who formerly worked in public education with Mrs. Scott, said: "We are saddened by the loss of this public servant who will be sorely missed in our community. Judge Scott's death will leave a void in our city and justice system."[5] East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore, III, the 2015 president of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, described his friend Scott as "kind and gentle, always professional and even-handed, a tremendous public servant all of his life."[4] Retired Caddo Parish Judge Gayle Hamilton, who retired in 1994, said that Scott's death "will be felt all over Caddo Parish. He was a truly unique individual. He was always able to see all sides of any case he presided over."[3]

In the primary election to fill the remainder of Scott's term as DA held on October 24, 2015, the African-American Democrat James E. Stewart, Sr., the brother of Carl E. Stewart, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, led a six-candidate field with 21,030 votes (40.8 percent). Stewart then won the runoff election, 54.5 to 45.55 percent, on November 21 against the remaining Republican candidate, Dhu Thompson, who is white.[18]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ADA Dale Cox to serve as Interim Caddo DA following death of Charles Scott. KTBS-TV (April 22, 2015). Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Judge Charles Rex Scott, II. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 John Andrew Prime (April 22, 2015). DA Charles Scott's death 'huge loss' for area. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ben Wallace. Caddo Parish district attorney found dead in Baton Rouge hotel room. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Charles Scott's personal impact shared. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on April 26, 2015.
  6. Primary election returns, October 1, 1994. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on June 26, 2012.
  7. General election returns, November 8, 1994. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on June 26, 2012.
  8. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 4, 2008). Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  9. Glenn Ford. arklatexhomepage.com (March 12, 2014). Retrieved on November 8, 2015.
  10. Maya Lau (April 23, 2015). Update: Caddo DA Charles Scott died of heart disease. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  11. Caddo coroner: Heart disease led to death of Caddo DA. WBRC (Fox) from KSLA-TV. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Maya Lau (April 24, 2015). Cox takes Caddo DA oath after predecessor's death. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  13. Jim Leggett (March 31, 2006). Web site hit for critizing Winn DA candidate. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on May 17, 2015.
  14. Scotts in Fern Park Cemetery. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  15. Marie Baucum Scott. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  16. Dale Cox, January 1948. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on April 25, 2015.
  17. KEEL (AM), July 15, 2015
  18. Results for Election Date: 12/21/2015. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.