On November 3 voters in the three-parish (Ascension, Assumption and St. James) 23rd Judicial District will decide two seats on the bench. The Division B contest features Cody Martin against Aaron Chaisson. What separates the candidates; what do they want you to know about them? Here’s what the respective candidates included in their campaign literature.
Cody Martin touts his “Wide-Ranging, Extensive Legal Experience” while Aaron Chaisson points to “20 Years Experience as a Defense Attorney.” Martin’s “experience” includes both civil and criminal work, while Chaisson’s message is misleading as he omits that his career defense has been on behalf of insurance companies (and not individuals charged with crime). Which is not to denigrate the Insurance Defense Bar; and Chaisson has plied his craft a bit longer.
Since 2015 Martin has been an Assistant District Attorney in Ricky Babin’s office, and spent time in the 23rd JDC’s Public Defender Program (as thankless a task as the practice has to offer, though a well-spring for courtroom experience) before that. The candidate has pointed out that judge’s in the 23rd Judicial District preside over every manner of cases, criminal and civil, including family law.
Chaisson, a Chalmette native, has pointed out that he resides in Ascension as opposed to Martin who calls St. James home. Martin counters that his office is in Ascension while Chaisson practices in Baton Rouge for the most part. In fact, Chaisson is not a member of the local Bar Association while Martin enjoyed a two-year tenure as President of the 23rd JDC Bar Association (2017-18).
Chaisson counters with his Baton Rouge Bar Association membership; he was a recipient of that august body’s President Award last year. He has served on the BR Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference Committee (see below):
Both candidates serve Ascension Parish Government; Chaisson as a Planning Commissioner since 2016, Martin as a Parish Attorney for Ascension and St. James parishes.