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Jim Mitchell (Louisiana judge)

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Title: Jim Mitchell (Louisiana judge)  
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Subject: James Mitchell, Baker, Louisiana, Leesville, Louisiana, Louisiana state court judges, Louisiana Republicans
Collection: 1946 Births, 2015 Deaths, American Military Personnel of the Vietnam War, American Racehorse Owners and Breeders, Baker High School (Louisiana) Alumni, Baptists from the United States, Burials in Louisiana, Louisiana Lawyers, Louisiana Republicans, Louisiana State Court Judges, Louisiana State University Alumni, Louisiana State University Law Center Alumni, People from Leesville, Louisiana, Politicians from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Politicians from Shreveport, Louisiana, United States Army Officers
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Jim Mitchell (Louisiana judge)

Jim Mitchell
Division C Judge of the Louisiana 30th Judicial District Court for Vernon Parish
In office
January 1, 2009 – July 24, 2015
Preceded by Lester P. Kees
Personal details
Born James Richard Mitchell
(1946-03-31)March 31, 1946
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died July 24, 2015(2015-07-24) (aged 69)
Alexandria, Rapides Parish
Resting place Hicks Pentecostal Cemetery in Hicks in Vernon Parish
Political party Republican

(1) Laurel Jeanne Drushel Mitchell (divorced)

(2) Michelle Price Basco Mitchell (married 1999)

From first marriage:
Jennifer Mitchell Canady
Jaymie Mitchell Wright
Mason Basco

Amanda Basco Wellman
Parents Richard and Edna Mitchell
Residence Leesville
Vernon Parish
Alma mater

Baker High School
Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Attorney, judge, horse breeder
Religion Southern Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War service at Fort Polk

James Richard "Jim" Mitchell (March 31, 1946 – July 24, 2015), was a lawyer and horse breeder from his adopted city of Leesville, Louisiana, who from 2009 until his death served as a judge of the state 30th Judicial District Court.


  • Background 1
  • Career 2
  • Family and death 3
  • References 4


Born in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana, Mitchell was one of four sons of Richard and Edna Mitchell. His three brothers are Bob Mitchell of Edmond, Oklahoma, John Mitchell of Baton Rouge, and Tom Mitchell of Breaux Bridge in St. Martin Parish in South Louisiana. He was raised in Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish. As the valedictorian of the 1964 class of Baker High School, he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed". He received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and graduated from the Louisiana State University Law Center. Thereafter, he entered the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was a captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps office at Fort Polk near Leesville in Vernon Parish.[1]


During the early 1970s, Mitchell began his law practice in Leesville, which he maintained for thirty-five years.[1][2] For some three decades, Mitchell was active with the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association. He also served on the national board of the American Quarter Horse Association, based in Amarillo, Texas.[1] His horses, among them Martini Mountain ($421,147), Rakin In Romeo ($152,424), Grits Gator ($206,593), and the show horse Perfectly Suited, earned more than $1.4 million on the racetrack.[3]

In 1996, Mitchell, a Republican ran unsuccessfully for the 30th Judicial District Court in Division B but was defeated by the Democrat John Ford, 6,388 votes (66.4 percent) to 3,239 (33.6 percent).[4] In 2008, he was elected to the Division C judgeship with victory over the Democrat (later Independent) Clay Williams, 5,990 (58.4 percent) to 4,276 (41.6 percent).[5] He was unopposed for his second term in 2014. On the court for six and a half years, Mitchell handled many complex cases. Through the drug court program, he had great interest in helping youth to overcome alcohol and drug addiction.[1]

In 2010, Judge Mitchell sentenced Kendra Hoffpauir, a teacher's aide who confessed to engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old pupil, to seven years at hard labor, but he suspended four of those years. Hoffpauir pleaded guilty in Vernon Parish to carnal knowledge and indecent behavior with a juvenile. She had also faced four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, a third count of carnal knowledge, and one of oral sexual battery. The Leesville Daily Leader reported that Mitchell set the sentences to run simultaneously. She was also fined $1,000 on each charge. Hoffpauir was working at Vernon Middle School when arrested. Some charges stemmed from her previous place of employment, Leesville Junior High School.[6]

Family and death

Mitchell was first married the former Laurel Jeanne Drushel (1948-2013), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who in 1958 moved to Baton Rouge with her parents, Harry and Maxime Drushel. She helped to establish the Bridal Boutique in Baton Rouge before moving with her husband to Leesville in 1971. A seamstress and cook, she first attended LSU but obtained bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Northwestern State University. She taught at the NSU Fort Polk campus and later at Baton Rouge Community College and Lone Star College, a community college in Houston, Texas. She is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Leesville.[7] From this marriage, Judge Mitchell has two daughters, Jennifer Mitchell Canaday (born 1971) and her husband, Niholas, of Austin, Texas, and Jaymie Mitchell Wright (born 1976) and husband Sam of Leesville.

In 1999, Mitchell married the former Michelle Price Basco, his surviving widow, and acquired two step-children, Mason Basco and his fiancé, Nicole Crabb, of Leesville, and Amanda Basco Wellman and husband Brett of Slagle in Vernon Parish.[1] Judge Mitchell died of a sudden illness at the age of sixty-nine in Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana.[8] Services were held on July 28, 2015, at the East Leesville Baptist Church, with interment at Hicks Pentecostal Church Cemetery in the unincorporated community of Hicks in Vernon Parish.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Honorable James Richard "Jim" Mitchell".  
  2. ^ "Judge James R. Mitchell". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Longtime Louisiana Horseman and LQHBA Board Member Jim Mitchell Ill (published the day of Judge Mitchell's death)". July 24, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Election Results".  
  5. ^ "-Election Results, 30th Judicial District, Division C". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Teacher's aide gets hard labor for sex crime". September 9, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Memorial for Laurel Jeanne Mitchell". Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
  8. ^ "30th District Judge Jim Mitchell passes away".  
  9. ^ "Obituary: Judge James "Jim" Mitchell". Leesville Daily Leader. Retrieved July 26, 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Lester P. Kees
Division C Judge of the Louisiana 30th Judicial District Court for Vernon Parish

James Richard "Jim" Mitchell
(alongside Vernon B. Clark and Anthony C. Eaves)

Succeeded by
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