Appellate Circuit

Still in Louisiana: Who is Judicial Whistleblower Hon. Sharon Marchman?

Four 4th Judicial District judges conspired to cover up illegal acts of a law clerk acting under their supervision Marchman states in lawsuit.

4th JDC judge sues other judges, law clerk

Four 4th Judicial District judges conspired to cover up illegal acts of a law clerk acting under their supervision, a colleague alleges in a lawsuit.

APR 20, 2016 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 4, 2022

According to the suit filed by Judge Sharon Marchman on Tuesday in U.S. District Court, 4th Judicial District Judges Carl V. Sharp, Frederic C. Amman, J. Wilson Rambo and Benjamin Jones “engaged in concerted action and a conspiracy” to hide that law clerk Allyson Campbell committed payroll fraud and destroyed or concealed court documents. The suit alleges that improper behavior dates back to 2010.

“They have also conspired to conceal the fact that they have intentionally withheld information and production of documents from authorities and persons making public records requests,” the suit continued.

The judges also are accused of “threatening, intimidating, coercing, ridiculing, taunting, harassing, alienating and making false accusations of wrongdoing” against Marchman in retaliation because she opposed their actions. Their actions reportedly included preventing her from performing her duties as the chair of the personnel committee, which resulted in her being forced to resign the position that she had held since approximately 2005.

Campbell, according to the suit, retaliated against Marchman’s attempt to expose a history of payroll fraud and document destruction by accusing Marchman of wrongful and illegal acts via legal pleadings in the matter of Palowsky v. Campbell in the 4th Judicial District.

In that suit, Marchman is accused of having a “vendetta” against Campbell, improperly disclosing information about Campbell to Palowsky and committing illegal acts.

Palowsky v. Campbell was filed in July following allegations that information was being withheld from Rambo during the proceedings of Palowsky v. Cork, a case filed in 2013 in which Stanley R. Palowsky III sued his previous business partner and other defendants.

Palowsky v. Campbell was dismissed with prejudice by ad hoc Judge Jerome J. Barbera II on Nov. 5. Questions regarding sanctions and contempt had yet to be addressed. A March 4 hearing on the issue was continued without a date being set, and court documents filed April 11 show the case is being moved to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal.

Former Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell and attorneys Brian Crawford and Lawrence Pettiette Jr. are accused of conspiring with Campbell by submitting the pleadings on her behalf in the Palowsky case.

Marchman’s attorneys, Joseph Ward and Sedric Banks, argue that the pleadings being filed by Pettiette, who was acting as special assistant attorney general, and Caldwell, who was acting as the attorney general for the Louisiana, provided an “air of legitimacy.”

They also argue that Caldwell assumed Campbell’s defense in civil litigation without conducting an investigation to determine whether she was free from criminal conduct.

The suit also names attorney Jon Guice, who represented the other four judges in previous legal proceedings, and accuses him of conspiring with them and with Campbell by filing pleadings that wrongfully accused Marchman of illegal acts.

Those pleadings “were aided by Campbell’s sworn affidavit testimony which contradicted prior correspondence she had written.”

The suit states that Marchman has become a pariah at the courthouse.

Ultimately, the suit argues that the defendants’ behavior violated Marchman’s First Amendment right to free speech and 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

Marchman seeks injunctive relief to stop “ongoing violations” and asks for a declaratory judgment finding that her rights were violated.

She also seeks “damages she has incurred including, but not limited to, damages for the mental anguish and emotional distress caused by defendants’ violations of and conspiracy to violate her constitutionally protected rights to free speech and equal protection, damages for the injury to her reputation, statutory damages, general damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, and judicial interest from the date of demand.”

Marchman requests a trial by jury.

A lawsuit presents one side of a legal argument.

Marchman: 4JDC judges filed over 20 complaints against her

OCT 13, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 4, 2022

Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman says her colleagues at the district court have filed at least 25 ethics complaints against her with the Judiciary Commission, though the complaints were ultimately dismissed.

Marchman made that claim in an Oct. 8 appeal to the state Supreme Court, defending herself against an ethics complaint allegedly submitted with the Judiciary Commission by Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Jimbo Stephens, of Baskin.

The Judiciary Commission has charged Marchman with violating the Supreme Court’s ethics code for judges in 2018 when she endorsed then-President Donald Trump by describing herself as a “Trump Republican” and by identifying Stephens as an independent like self-proclaimed socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. At the time, Marchman was a candidate for the Second Circuit in a race with Stephens, which she lost.

The Judiciary Commission is a judicial oversight branch of the state Supreme Court that has the authority to investigate judges’ misconduct.

In her appeal to the Supreme Court, Marchman objected to an Oct. 5 ruling by retired Judge John Campbell, of Minden. Campbell is presiding over Marchman’s disciplinary case.

Campbell granted a motion by the Judiciary Commission’s Office of Special Counsel to quash subpoenas Marchman issued to set depositions and gain witness testimony ahead of defending herself in a hearing.

Marchman issued 12 subpoenas to Stephens, Fourth Judicial District Court Judges Stephens Winters, Scott Leehy and Wilson Rambo as well as retired judges Ben Jones and Carl Sharp. In addition, she subpoenaed attorneys Jon Guice, Bill Boles Jr., Brian Crawford and Christian Creed. She also subpoenaed Stephens’ political consultant Eric Mahaffey and The (Monroe) News-Star reporter Bonnie Bolden.

Many of the people issued subpoenas, including most of the judges and some of the attorneys, were defendants in a federal lawsuit Marchman filed in 2016, claiming her colleagues had sought to make her a pariah at the courthouse when she tried to hold law clerk Allyson Campbell accountable for alleged criminal activity. A U.S. District Court judge ultimately dismissed Marchman’s lawsuit.

Creed is Allyson Campbell’s brother-in-law while Crawford is Allyson Campbell’s attorney. Marchman’s writ also indicated Creed retained Monroe attorney Michael Creighton as legal counsel.

Louisiana State Police and the state Office of Inspector General investigated Allyson Campbell for public payroll fraud as well as allegations that she concealed or destroyed court documents, including court filings in Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III’s lawsuit against his former business partner, Brandon Cork. The state Attorney General deemed the evidence insufficient to secure a lasting conviction.

The claims that Allyson Campbell destroyed documents in Stanley R. Palowsky III and others v. W. Brandon Cork and others remain part of a separate lawsuit Palowsky is pursuing against Allyson Campbell and five judges who serve or previously served at the district court: Fred Amman, Jones, Rambo, Sharp and Winters. Before serving on the bench, Marchman worked as Palowsky’s legal counsel.

In her writ, Marchman claimed Allyson Campbell and the judges filed complaints with the Judiciary Commission against her, with file numbers indicating the complaints were submitted in 2016 and 2018.

“Furthermore, there is also additional history of Campbell filing judiciary complaints against Judge Marchman in File Nos. 16-115, 16-219, and 18-505 wherein she made various allegations including that Judge Marchman was essentially pursuing retribution against her,” stated Marchman’s writ. “All these complaints were closed without any findings against Judge Marchman after the Judiciary Commission conducted its investigation.”

The Judiciary Commission claims its records are confidential, including complaints, and discloses them only under certain circumstances.

Marchman argued the judges who previously filed complaints against her were willing at the time to testify against her and could not now claim their testimony was irrelevant.

“Likewise, Fourth Judicial District Court Judges Carl Sharp, Alvin Sharp, Winters, Leehy, Ellender, Johnson, Rambo, and Amman filed 22 complaints against Judge Marchman in File No. 18-457 claiming, among other things, that Judge Marchman was “(5) Defaming her court and its Judges during two separate election campaigns…” stated Marchman’s writ. “The last page of the [judges’] complaint states that ‘[one] or more of these Judges has knowledge of and is prepared to testify regarding all of these matters.’ This complaint was closed without any findings against Judge Marchman after the Judiciary Commission conducted its investigation.”

According to Marchman’s writ to the Supreme Court last week, Campbell—the hearing officer presiding over the case against Marchman—ruled that the witnesses subpoenaed had no connection to the charges at hand. Winters, Rambo, Leehy, Sharp, Jones, Crawford, Guice, Boles, and Creed “have no connection to the above-captioned matter and, as such, can offer no testimony that is relevant or material to it,” Campbell’s ruling reportedly stated.

“The Order issued by the Hearing Officer prohibiting Judge Marchman from conducting discovery from the designated witnesses will cause her irreparable harm as it prevents her from adequately presenting a defense to the charges made against her,” stated Marchman’s writ. “It erroneously assumes the testimony sought is irrelevant before the witnesses have even provided any testimony.”

Marchman has until Dec. 12 to conduct discovery, including taking depositions from witnesses.

“Given the short time frame to conduct discovery and the resulting prejudice if she is not allowed to conduct discovery, Judge Marchman respectfully requests that this Writ application be considered on an expedited basis,” stated Marchman’s writ.

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Still in Louisiana: Who is Judicial Whistleblower Hon. Sharon Marchman?
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