Leslie Turk

Bouillion, Durio, Keaty seeking Third Circuit seat

by Leslie Turk

Lafayette City Court Judge Francie Bouillion, 15th Judicial District Court Judge Phyllis Keaty and attorney Steven “Buzz” Durio have all confirmed their plans to run for the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. The trio is seeking the seat vacated by the recent death of Mike Sullivan, whose term was set to expire Dec. 31; qualifying is July 7-9, with a special election called for Oct. 2. If necessary, a run-off election would be Nov. 2.

The seat is District 3, Section 5, which includes much of Lafayette Parish. More candidates are expected to enter the race.

Bouillon, who practiced law with the firm of Gordon, Arata and clerked for a short time for U.S. District Court Judge John Duhe, was first elected city judge in 1994 and was re-elected for a six year term in 1996. She faced no opposition in both 2002 and 2008. Bouillion launched an unsuccessful bid for the Third Circuit in 2004 after Ned Doucet announced his retirement from the bench. The election for the at-large seat, which included eight parishes in District 3, was won by James Genovese of Opelousas.

“I still want the job,” Bouillion tells The INDsider. “I’ve wanted it for some time.”

Keaty, who has served as a district court judge since 1999 and is a co-founder of the Family Division of the 15th JDC, says her biggest challenge will be balancing family court’s needs with the upcoming campaign. Keaty says she will need heavy lifting from her family and supporters to make a successful bid.

Bouillion and Keaty, who are sure to emphasize their judicial experience, will face a formidable opponent in Durio, who is likely to run on his three decades of experience representing clients from business and banking to insurance defense. He's also handled some criminal matters. Durio's last campaign was in 2004, when he lost a run-off election to Joel Robideaux for state representative.

Based in Lake Charles, the Third Circuit covers 21 parishes in southwestern Louisiana. It has appellate jurisdiction over all civil matters, all matters appealed from family and juvenile courts, and most criminal cases that are triable by a jury.

Attorney David Chatelain was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to fill the seat temporarily.