Judge Trahan reviews first 100 days
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – Crowley/Ward 6 City Judge M’elise Trahan is approaching her 100th day since taking office. And she has hit the ground running.
Thus far, she has revamped her office’s computer system - which was over ten years old, changed the office hours and her schedule so as to help coordinate with the Crowley Police Department, and is working to tie in with the Crowley Police Department’s computer system so that they can have warrants prepared when they are needed. And this is just the start of the list.
“We traveled to Sulphur to take a look at their City Court which has a fantastic design,” said Trahan. “We got plenty of ideas and our system will be similar to theirs.”
Trahan made it a point to emphasize the value of the staff she has assembled, many of whom worked with Judge Harrington before his retirement.
“I’ve really been blessed with a wonderful staff of five very hard working people,” said Trahan. “Lynette Nickel has some valuable years of experience with retired Judge Harrington and we also have a woman named Stina Broussard who was with the Jennings City Court before she came here.”
One thing that has changed for Trahan, who is known for her contributions with several community organizations around Crowley throughout the years, is that she won’t be involved in as many of them as she was before.
“As a judge you can’t be a part of any organization that may have any type of political agenda,” she said. “So I had to resign from organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the committee on the National Day of Prayer because they obviously involve political issues.”
Upon winning her election in a runoff against Crowley Alderman Lyle Fogleman, Trahan had to go through a four day judge’s orientation in New Orleans along with all the other statewide judges that were preparing to take office. The orientation was put on by the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Judicial College.
“It was work but four days in New Orleans wasn’t that bad either,” she said with a smile.
Trahan has her own style of justice that she seems to have inherited from her own experiences as a parent and as the daughter of former Rayne City Judge Denald Beslin. One example would be the punishment a juvenile would receive for a speeding ticket.
“For a juvenile, I don’t agree with big fines that basically punish the parents,” she said. “I believe that sending them to driver improvement school is a much better option. When they finish they must either write a 300 word essay on what they learned or bring a friend with them to the classes so that another juvenile can learn from what is being taught.”
Trahan has also changed the scheduling of her trials so that a police officer will not have to wait all day in a courtroom before he can take the stand.
“We now concentrate on working on arraignments in the morning and our trials in the afternoon,” she said. “This makes it so one of our city’s police officers isn’t sitting in a courtroom all day as opposed to working the streets.”
Trahan seems dedicated to working hand in hand with the Crowley Police Department.
“I don’t have a law office or another job so they never have a problem finding me when it comes time for a warrant to be signed or any other matter,” she stated.
She also seems to have the same consideration for Crowley’s citizens.
For example, the City Judge’s office is now open from 12 noon until 1 p.m. so that people can stop by on their lunch breaks to handle their business as opposed to having to leave their jobs.
All in all, Judge Trahan still seems to harbor the excitement about her new job that people in Crowley remember from her years of involvement in community service.
For example, she is very happy with her new office, which she proudly displayed Monday morning before her interview.
When asked whether there ever times when she stood in her office, looking around and letting it all sink in, Trahan didn’t hesitate.
“Oh yeah, all the time,” she laughed.