New Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King has been removed from the bench as she fights felony charges accusing her of lying about her residency.
The State Supreme Court disqualified King from any judicial functions in an order issued Thursday. The suspension was recommended by the Judiciary Commission in light of two felony charges filed against her in February.
“The Judiciary Commission is of the opinion that Judge King should not be exercising judicial functions while she is facing serious felony criminal charges,” the Judiciary Commission wrote in a recommendation that was unsealed Thursday.
King faces charges of filing a false public record and executing a false affidavit when she claimed a New Orleans residency in paperwork she filed to qualify to run for the juvenile court vacancy last year.
The false affidavit charges carries a sentence of up to two years in prison, while filing a false public records carries a sentence of up to five years.
King claimed to live in New Orleans at a time when she had a homestead exemption in St. Tammany Parish, according to the state Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
King pleaded not guilty after being indicted by a grand jury.
In a legal brief opposing the suspension, King’s attorney James Williams argued that the high court did not spell out “clear and convincing evidence needed to warrant discipline for judicial misdconduct.”
“Furthermore,” Williams wrote, “Judge King’s indictment stems from malicious actions by her opponents which will prove to be false at trial.”
The issue of King’s residence was first raised last spring by her opponents for the juvenile court judgeship vacated by Tracy Flemings- Davillier, who was elected to New Orleans Criminal Court.
In a runoff victory that came as a surprise to many political watchers, King was elected in May 2013 against former prosecutor Doug Hammel, who outspent King by a wide margin.
Documents obtained by Eyewitness News from the St. Tammany Parish assessor’s office show that King has had a homestead exemption on a house on Chancer Lane in Slidell since 2007.
The documents also show that King contacted the St. Tammany Assessor's Office about the homestead exemption during her campaign.
On April 22, she asked to remove the homestead exemption on her Slidell house for 2013. Then on April 23, the documents show she asked to remove the homestead exemption on her Slidell house for the years 2011 and 2012.
The Tax Commission removed those homestead exemptions in May, but the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office says King was ordered to pay an additional $1,128.08 for 2011 and an additional $1,120.73 for 2012.
As Eyewitness Investigates has reported, a New Orleans house that King has claimed as her residence actually belongs to her sister Grace King and and former New Orleans police officer Jimmie Bobb.