O. E. Price
|Oscar Ewing "O. E." Price|
1954 – 1960
|Succeeded by||Monty Wyche|
Judge of the Louisiana
26th Judicial District Court
1960 – 1969
|Preceded by||James Edwin Bolin|
Judge of the Louisiana
Second Circuit Court of Appeal
1969 – 1985
|Born|| January 1, 1924|
Logansport, DeSoto Parish
|Died|| February 23, 2006 (aged 82)|
Bossier City, Louisiana
|Spouse(s)|| (1) Joyce Maurine Walker Price (died 1995)
(2) Florence "Flo" Whittington Bigby Price (married 1997-2006, his death)
|Children|| John Walker Price|
Roger Ewing Price
|Alma mater|| Louisiana Tech University|
LSU Law Center
Price was born in Logansport in western DeSoto Parish in northwestern Louisiana to Oscar Elijah Price (1876–1943) and the former Katherine Holt.
Price graduated at the age of sixteen from Logansport High School. He enrolled at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston for three years. Then he entered the United States Army Air Corps, forerunner to the Air Force, for three years of military service during World War II. He served in the Pacific theater of operations. In 1949, he earned his Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge and thereafter opened his law office in Bossier City, then a small city located across the Red River from Shreveport.
In 1954, Price, a Democrat, was elected municipal judge in Bossier City. On July 23, 1960, he secured election to the 26th Judicial District Court bench. With 6,031 votes, Price defeated two primary opponents from Bossier City, Laurie Campbell and Harvey Locke Carey, who polled 3,713 and 1,828 votes, respectively. Carey had served briefly in 1950 as a United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, based in Shreveport. Beginning in 1960, there were two judgeships in the 26th District. Price was the judge for Bossier Parish, and his colleague, also elected in 1960, was Enos McClendon of Minden in Webster Parish.
In 1967, Judge Price was charged with collusion with then Sheriff Willie Waggonner, chief deputy and Waggonner's successor as sheriff, Vol Dooley, and then District Attorney Louis Harvey Padgett, Jr. (1913-1980), to rig the trial of former rodeo star Jack Graves Favor (1911-1988), who was wrongly convicted for the murders on April 17, 1964, of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Richey, who operated a bait stand near Haughton in Bossier Parish. The court ignored evidence that Favor was in Oklahoma at the time of the murders. Judge Price refused to allow exonerating testimony from Donald E. Yates, one of the men who committed the murders. Represented by former state Senator Joe T. Cawthorn, Favor was convicted on false testimony and sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in West Feliciana Parish. Favor received a second trial at the Bossier Parish Courthouse in Benton in 1974, by which time Price had moved up to the next court level and Cawthorn had died. With counsel James B. Wells of Bossier City, who had run for the state Senate in 1956, Favor was quickly acquitted and released. He returned to Fort Worth and then Arlington, Texas, where he sold used cars and engaged in counseling wayward youth of the dangers of lawless behavior.
In 1973, District Attorney Charles A. Marvin, a future state circuit judge, asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to review perjury charge filed against Judge Price and DA Louis Padgett in reference to the misuse of Floyd Edward Cumbey (1936-1998) as the state's chief witness against Jack Favor. The following month, the Supreme Court dismissed the perjury charge on grounds that the state filed too late in appealing a district court order which had quashed and dismissed the indictments against Price and Padgett. It was noted too that Judge Benjamin Cornwell Dawkins, Jr. (1911-1984), of the [nited States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, had said in 1972 that there was enough evidence to warrant Favor's second trial.
In 1969, two years after the first Favor trial, Price was elected to the Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeal for the Second District, based in Shreveport. In 1979, Price was named chief judge of the appeal court, on which he served until his retirement in 1985. He was a past chairman of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges and a member of the Louisiana, Bossier Parish, and Shreveport bar associations. In 1999, Price was honored at a 50-year reunion of LSU Law School graduates. After retirement, Price engaged in arbitration work for the law firm of Peters, Ward, Bright and Hennessy in Shreveport.
Price was active in the Louisiana Bar Association, Bossier Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis International, United Way, the former Palmetto Country Club, and the Young Men's Christian Association. He was an avid runner, having participated in two triathlons when he was in his fifties.
He served on the boards of several financial institutions. He was reared in the First United Methodist Church of Logansport and was thereafter a long-term member of the First United Methodist Church of Bossier City.
Family and death
Price was twice married. Two years after the death of his first wife, the former Joyce Maurine Walker (September 29, 1925 – September 13, 1995), a victim of Alzheimer's disease, Judge Price married Anna Florence "Flo" Whittington Bigby (1923–2009), a businesswoman and the widow of Price's former judicial colleague, Walter O. Bigby. She was the daughter of banker and former state Senator V. V. Whittington, who represented Bossier and Webster parishes.
Judge Price died of complications from pneumonia. In addition to his second wife "Flo" Price, he was survived by four children, John Walker Price of Bossier City, Roger Ewing Price of Baton Rouge, Clayton Holt Price of Houston, Texas, and Kathy Price Rodgers of Southlake, a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas; stepson Walter O. Bigby, Jr., of Bossier City, and two Rodgers granddaughters.
Judge Price is interred beside his first wife at the O. E. Price Memorial Cemetery in Logansport, which is named for Price's father. Flo Price is interred beside her first husband, Judge Walter Bigby, at Hill Crest Cemetery in Haughton.
- O. E. Price Cemetery records do not list a "Katherine Holt" Price, but a "Gay Holt" Price (1879-1966) is recorded. This may be Judge Price's aunt by marriage. Gay Holt Price would have been forty-four years of age at the time of Judge Price's birth.
- O. E. Price obituary. The Shreveport Times (February 24, 2006). Retrieved on October 17, 2019.
- In Memoriam: O.E. Price. lasc.org. Retrieved on October 17, 2019.
- "Humphrey, McClendon, Price Nominated," Minden Press, July 25, 1960, p. 1.
- "Not Guilty". Cowboysforchrist.net. Retrieved on October 17, 2019.
- List of Louisiana Wrongful Convictions Overturned since 1966. The Baton Rouge Advocate (November 23, 2003). Retrieved on February 6, 2014; no longer on-line.
- "Marvin Asks Supreme Court to Review Perjury Charge Against Judges Padgett and Price," Minden Press-Herald, January 25, 1973, p. 1.
- "Louisiana Supreme Court Dismisses Perjury Charge in Price-Padgett Case," Minden Press-Herald, February 20, 1973, p. 1.
- Flo Whittington Bigby Price. The Shreveport Times (August 3, 2009). Retrieved on October 17, 2019.