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|Location: Livingston, La
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Bruce C. Bennett is a recently retired Louisiana District Judge (1988-2015), having served the people of Louisiana for almost 28 years as a trial judge of general jurisdiction in the Twenty First Judicial District Court comprising the Parishes of Livingston, Tangipahoa, and St. Helena. He presided over hundreds of major felony cases both jury and non-jury, including murders, rapes, kidnappings, drug cases, child molestations, and several capital cases tried to verdict, as well as numerous misdemeanor and family cases and other civil matters. Judge Bennett’s last capital case was State v. Bordelon, the most recent case in Louisiana wherein the death penalty was sought, awarded, upheld, and imposed. During his lengthy judicial career, he also presided over multiple complex personal injury and commercial cases, including class action litigation involving the Livingston Parish train derailment and Combustion, Inc., both of which cases involved toxic waste issues and environmental and personal damages. His numerous judgments were seldom modified and even more seldom reversed on any issue. He volunteered and served as the Drug Court Judge for Livingston Parish for the seventeen years prior to his retirement, while handling his normally allotted docket. During this tenure, his Drug Court graduated hundreds of defendants convicted of drug and drug related offenses, whose lives were forever changed in a most positive way by the treatment and rehabilitation provided by this innovative Specialty Court.
Bennett is a 1975 graduate of the LSU Law Center wherein he was awarded the Dean Henry George McMahon Scholarship, and also served as Corps Commander of the LSU Corps of Cadets. Graduating at the age of 22 as a Distinguished Graduate with a combined degree in Business Administration and Law (B.S. and J.D.), he served both stateside and abroad as a Captain in the United States Air Force where he practiced as a Judge Advocate and headed the Military Justice Department at Keesler Air Force Base. He also served at a Joint NATO Command in Keflavik Iceland, where he acted as advisor to the Commander, Iceland Defense Forces and as local defense counsel for military personnel of all branches of the service. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (peacetime/Cold War equivalent of the Bronze Star) for his work as a military prosecutor.
Upon separation from military duty, Bennett became a member of the litigation firm of Baham, Anderson, and Bennett in Hammond, Louisiana and later was a sole practitioner focusing on personal injury litigation until his election to the bench in 1988 at the age of 35. He is an AV Preeminent rated attorney with Martindale-Hubbell, licensed by the Supreme Court of Louisiana and the Supreme Court of the United States. Bennett recently reentered the practice of law, serves as Of Counsel to the firm and will concentrate on criminal defense and personal injury litigation. He intends to continue his work in representing defendants charged with drug related offenses with a view to defense and rehabilitation.
During his judicial tenure, his forte was settlement and resolution of cases short of litigation. He recently completed an intensive course in Civil Mediation from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution directed by the School of Law at Pepperdine University, and is certified by both training and experience to mediate all manner of civil litigation. Judge Bennett is available for private mediation, for special master appointments, and will continue to occasionally sit on an ad hoc basis as a trial or appellate judge by special appointment of the Supreme Court.