Filed Under:  Politics

Jupiter enters Traffic Court race

12th August 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Christopher Tidmore
Contributing Writer

For Stephen Jupiter, the skill set he would need if elected to Traffic Court on October 19, 2013, came from learning “the importance of following the rules of the road at an early age” as he navigated through his siblings.

In other words, he explained, “I’m from a big New Orleans family…My parents, Clarence and Ramona Jupiter, taught all 12 of their children the values of faith, hard work, education, fair and impartial treatment of all, compassion, patience and community service. These life lessons have prepared me to serve as a husband, a father and a lawyer. My experiences of advocating for both plaintiffs and defendants have taught me the great value of trying to understand both perspectives. As a traffic court judge, I will draw on those experiences to deliver an efficient and balanced administration of justice.”

“I am running for Traffic Court Judge because I want to protect and secure a safe future for New Orleans residents. Ensuring that the Rules of the Road are followed and applied fairly is one way I can continue serving the community. Being a traffic court judge would allow me to continue representing and advocating on behalf of injured persons, while also serving the public.”

Jupiter outlined his campaign platform in an interview with The Louisiana Weekly, by simply stating, “Every person — from those charged with minor traffic violations to those charged with the most serious offenses of impaired driving — every person is entitled to a judge who is experienced, effective and efficient. It is my goal to make traffic court more user- friendly and efficient, utilizing all available resources and technological innovations.”

With Mayor Landrieu’s proposal to centralize City Hall and the Civil District Courts in a rebuilt Big Charity building, some have called for new facilities for Traffic Court as well. Jupiter does not disagree—just not in the new ‘Civic Center’. “Upgrading and improving the current Traffic Court facility is a top priority. However, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) conducted an analysis and assessment on the feasibility of moving CDC to Charity Hospital. The study concluded that the Charity Hospital building’s floor plates and the structure layout are not suitable for efficient court operations.”

He also has serious problems with the Traffic Cameras that seemingly watch most major intersections in the city.

“Traffic Camera issued tickets deserve the same level of scrutiny and review as tickets issued by police officers,” he said, and right now the public is not receiving that. “The delays in notification of a violation make it more difficult for the person receiving a ticket to recall the details of an incident, and adversely affects the driver’s ability to challenge the ticket. Because traffic camera citations are issued to the registered car owner, it assumes that the driver of the car and the person to whom the car is registered are one in the same.”

He does support the move made in the last legislative session to abolish the Judicial retirement age. “Today people are living longer and healthier lives. A judge should be allowed to continue serving as long as he/she has the physical and mental ability to handle a docket and render fair, well-reasoned and impartial decisions.”

“Throughout my 17 years of litigation experience I have practiced in Civil Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court, Traffic Court, Appellate Court and Federal Court,” he noted, contrasting his record with his likely opponents Clint Smith and Marie Bookman. The primary is October 19.

This article originally published in the August 12, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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