Louisiana Justice Of The Peace Makes $200K For Working Part Time?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

An elected Louisiana justice of the peace made more money working part time in 2012 than Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and any judge in the state of Louisiana.

Charles Cusimano II took home nearly $200,000 in 2012, according to an investigative report from local news station WDSU. He worked part time in Jefferson Parish’s 5th district performing basic judicial responsibilities, like marrying couples, eviction filings and settling minor legal disputes.

Cusimano, a former Republican State Representative, made more than the Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, both Republicans.

In fact, Cusimano took home more than any other justice of the peace because of a 116-year-old law that allows them and their staff to keep 50 percent of all fees paid to their court. Cusimano’s district, on the edge of New Orleans includes the populous suburb of Metairie.

Most justices of the peace make less than $30,000 per year, the Times-Picayune reported.

The state’s seven Supreme Court justices make less than $158,000 annually, and that's after a five percent raise they received last year.

"That number is astounding," Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission watchdog group told WDSU.

But Cusimano isn’t doing anything illegal, it’s the state laws that are the problem, Goyeneche said.

"The laws established in 1898 are essentially still in place," he said.

Sources: WDSU, Times-Picayune