St. Charles Herald-Guide

Morel says dadís connections do not give advantage in judgeís race

By Michelle Stuckey - March 1, 2012

Facing a packed house of nearly 100 parishioners at the Norco Civic Association meeting Tuesday, candidates Michele Morel and Tim Marcel told listeners why they deserve to be the next 29th Judicial District judge.

The position opened up when Judge Robert Chaisson was elected to the stateís 5th Circuit Court of Appeal last year.

The March 24 election will give the winning candidate two years in the judgeís seat, the remainder of Chaissonís term. They will be up for reelection for a six-year term after that.

Morel is a lifelong resident of St. Charles and the daughter of retiring district attorney Harry J. Morel Jr. While some at the meeting felt that she might have an unfair advantage because of her fatherís local connections, Morel said that she is simply the most qualified candidate.

"I am Harry Morelís daughter and Iím proud of thatÖbut it doesnít matter who my father is because Iím the most qualified candidate," she said.

She also offered a long list of experience to back up her claim, including 16 years as an assistant district attorney, 18 years as an attorney and multiple positions teaching law students and her peers the fundamentals in many judicial areas.

"I am extremely qualified for this," Morel said. "As a judge, I will be very good. You will be proud of me."

When asked if her husbandís job in law enforcement outside of St. Charles would interfere with her position if elected, Morel said that his job never brings him inside the parish to make arrests.

Marcel told the audience that he was grateful to have been "adopted" by St. Charles Parish 15 years ago when he and his wife made the area their home.

"Tonight is the most important job interview Iíll have during this campaign," Marcel told the crowd. "It is my mission to earn this electionÖThere is no more important office in this community than district judge."

Marcel also touted his legal background, having been an attorney in St. Charles since 1997, past president of the St. Charles Bar Association and a former member of the 29th Judicial District Indigent Defenderís Board.

Harry Morel was also at the meeting, thanking residents for the years of support he has received during his run as district attorney.

"Itís been a real pleasure serving as your district attorney," he said. "I love my job and I wasnít ready to retire, but now that I am, Iím really looking forward to it."