Saying that he is “Extremely honored and privileged to represent the citizens of our community on the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal,” Judge Jude Gravois announced today that he is a candidate for re-election.
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020, with early voting taking place from October 20 through the 27th. The judicial district encompasses all of St. James Parish and the East Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish.
With more than three decades of legal experience as a full-time practicing attorney, Gravois put his legal expertise to work from the moment he was sworn in as judge on the Fifth Circuit on May 1, 2009. Since then, he has handled more than 3,250 matters appealed to the Fifth Circuit, including authoring more than 350 full appellate opinions and more than 700 writ dispositions.
“This is an extremely important position that I take very seriously,” said Gravois. “I work hard every day to ensure that justice is administered fairly, properly and expeditiously in every case before me. You expect and deserve nothing less.”
Gravois is a lifelong resident of the River Parishes, growing up right here along the Mississippi River. “I understand local people and their concerns and I share their deep appreciation and pride for our unique heritage, customs, and culture,” he said.
Before being elected judge, Gravois actively practiced law for more than 30 years, handling thousands of legal matters of almost every type imaginable for a diverse clientele. “As an appeals court judge, I draw upon this wide and varied legal experience to make decisions that are fair and right.”
A 1975 graduate of Nicholls State University and a 1978 graduate of the LSU Law School, Gravois has a solid reputation for outstanding work throughout his long legal and current judicial career.
“I served as an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting criminals and protecting the rights of crime victims,” Gravois said. “I also served as an indigent defender attorney, providing legal counsel to people who could not afford a lawyer. Before my election to the bench, I represented public bodies, including the parish council, school board and levee district. My clients came from all walks of life and I helped them with their legal issues including domestic, criminal, estate, probate, property, and business matters.”
Gravois has a deep understanding of and appreciation for the law. He knows not only how the judicial system works, but also where it can be improved to better serve citizens. “As an appeals court judge, I understand the intricacies of the system,” he said. “While practicing law, I was in and out of the courtroom, as an indigent defender attorney, prosecutor, and full-time practicing attorney for more than 30 years. My current judicial experience and the vast legal experience I gained as a practicing attorney uniquely qualifies me to review cases and pass judgment on courtroom decisions.”
Gravois served two terms as President of the local Bar Association and numerous terms as Vice President. For many years, he spearheaded the local group’s annual Christmas toy drive. Gravois served for several years as a teacher/moderator of local high school mock trial competitions and many years as a member of the House of Delegates to the Louisiana State Bar Association.
Gravois was awarded the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Crystal Gavel Award for his outstanding service to the community and legal profession. He also served as chairman of the St. James Parish Notarial Commission for some 20-plus years and is a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus.
Since becoming a judge, Gravois has been a frequent continuing legal education lecturer to judges and lawyers from throughout the state on a wide range of topics, including legal ethics and professionalism. Gravois has earned a reputation from the bench and bar as being prepared, hard-working, fair and impartial. As a judge, Gravois has been appointed to serve on several boards serving the legal profession and the courts, including secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana Council of Court of Appeal Judges, member of the Louisiana Judges Supplemental Compensation Fund Board, and member of the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics, where he assists in the formulation and issuance of advisory opinions to judges and judicial candidates.
Gravois has been a member of and volunteer of many local civic and community organizations, including LaPlace Rotary Club, LaPlace Lions Club, St. John Business Association, St. John Theatre, and the Keep St. James Parish Beautiful Board.
Gravois has been married for 42 years to Sonia Steib Gravois of Vacherie. They are the proud parents of two adult married children and five young grandchildren, all of whom live in South Louisiana. The Gravois’ attend St. Philip Catholic Church where he serves as a member of the church advisory council and a lecturer during mass.
“My father was a farm machinery mechanic and served for many years on the school board,” Gravois said. “I worked side-by-side with him throughout my school years where he taught me the value of hard work and of doing what’s right. My mother, a long-time public school teacher and librarian, inspired me with her steadfast support and firm belief that you can do whatever you want to do if you put your mind to it. I carry those principles with me and apply them to the work I do every day at the Fifth Circuit.”
Gravois said “It is an honor to serve you as judge and I would sincerely appreciate your support and vote in the upcoming election. Thank you.”