Graydon K. Kitchens Jr.
Graydon Kelly Kitchens Jr.
|Minden City and Webster Parish Ward I Judge|
June 1976 – 1978
|Preceded by||John W. "Jack" Montgomery (interim)|
|Succeeded by||R. Harmon Drew Sr.|
|Judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court|
|Preceded by||Enos C. McClendon Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Ford E. Stinson Jr.|
|Chief Judge of the 26th Judicial District Court|
|Born||July 19, 1936|
Minden, Louisiana, USA
|Political party||Democrat / later Republican|
|Spouse(s)||Roberta Carroll Kitchens|
|Alma mater||Minden High School|
Louisiana State University
|Branch/service||United States Army|
Graydon Kelly Kitchens Jr. (born July 19, 1936), is an attorney and a retired city, ward, and state court judge in Minden, Louisiana.
Graydon Jr. was born in Minden and graduated in 1954 from Minden High School. Like his father, he attended LSU, from which he received his undergraduate degree in 1958 in the French language. At LSU, he was a member of the Louisiana Law Review and the Order of the Coif. From 1958 to 1960, he was a lieutenant in the United States Army infantry. After he obtained his Juris Doctorate from LSU in 1964, he entered with his father into the Kitchens Law Firm in Minden. Thereafter, his brother, Paul Edward Kitchens (born December 11, 1945), joined the firm, as did Graydon "Gray" Kitchens, III (born April 1965).
In 1976, Kitchens Jr. was elected to succeed Cecil C. Lowe in the Minden city and Ward I court upon Lowe's election to the 26th Judicial District Court. Minden attorney John W. "Jack" Montgomery, a former member of the Louisiana State Senate, held the post temporarily prior to Kitchens' election. Kitchens defeated another attorney, his fellow Democrat, Henry Grady Hobbs, 2,740 to 2,237. A widely known community figure who ran unsuccessfully for numerous positions, Hobbs (1923-2012) was the long-term appointed president of the Webster Parish Library Board.
After two years on the city court, the junior Kitchens was elected to the 26th Judicial District Court to succeed Enos McClendon, who retired after eighteen years on the bench. Kitchens also served three six-year terms on the court until his retirement in 1996. He was chief judge of the 26th District from 1988 through 1995. The Louisiana Bar Foundation in 1995 named him "Jurist of the Year". He served on the Louisiana Judiciary Commission from 1988 to 1992 and again from 1994 to 1996; he was the commission chairman from 1991 to 1992.
In 1986, Kitchens was the presiding judge of the 26th Judicial District Court in State of Louisiana v. James M. Monds, referring to James Marvin Monds (born December 1963) of Keithville in Caddo Parish. At the time, Monds, a surgical technician at Barksdale Air Force Base was convicted of the murder the preceding summer of Vicki Thomas, who was raped, assaulted, mutilated, and killed at the parking lot of Parkway High School in Bossier City. Monds became the key suspect when his vehicle, a Ford Bronco, was identified as the one at the scene of the murder. Monds testified that he had never met Thomas and had no knowledge of her death but had cut his hand while working on a flat tire the night of the crime. The Louisiana Supreme Court, which heard the case after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recused itself, ruled in 1994 that insufficient evidence, much of it circumstantial, existed to continue to incarcerate Monds. He was therefore declared "acquitted" and released after having served nearly nine years in prison.
John Milkovich, elected in 2015 as the District 36 member of the Louisiana State Senate, was Monds' attorney. He accused both DA Brown and the presiding judge in the case, Graydon K. Kitchens, Jr., of Minden in Webster Parish of serious legal errors in the case. Milkovich accused Judge Kitchens of trying to block testimony which would have cleared Monds, and he accused Brown and Monds' former wife, Shea, of plotting the killing of Thomas. The charge against Brown was quickly repudiated by James Bullers, who succeeded Brown as district attorney of Bossier and Webster parishes. In a rebuke of Milkovich, Bullers said, "The theory was and is so ridiculous that it's almost unbelievable. I personally believe that Milkovich is totally obsessed with Henry Brown. I really don't know if he believes it himself."
In 1996, Ktichens was named "Outstanding Jurist" at the annual Bar Foundation banquet in Baton Rouge. He was nominated for the honor by his fellow Judges Harmon Drew, Jr., Cecil P. Campbell, II, Dewey E. Burchett, Jr., and Bruce M. Bolin as well as the then Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. He retired at the end of 1996 to engage in a law practice with his brother and son. Webster Parish Sheriff Larkin T. Riser called Kitchens "one of the finest and fairest judges that we've had. I know that he certainly will be missed by law enforcement officers in this area."
After retirement, Kitchens returned to his law practice, which he specializes in estate planning, family law, personal injury, wills and probates, and real estate. He is also an assistant district attorney for the Bossier-Webster district and in that capacity attends most meetings of the Webster Parish Police Jury. Kitchens is a former member of the Webster Parish Democratic Executive Committee. However, the office of Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler lists Kitchens in 2013 as a Republican. Schedler also lists Paul Kitchens and Graydon Kitchens, III, who now resides in Bossier City, as Republicans.
One of Kitchens' law partners has been the incoming Republican U.S. Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana's 4th congressional district, who take the congressional position on January 3, 2017.
On March 21, 2014, Mayor Tommy Davis declared "Judge Kitchens Day" in Minden to honor the retired judge on the occasion of his fiftieth year as a practicing lawyer. Judge Kitchens' father had received the same honor in September 1976.
Graydon Kitchens Jr. is or has been affiliated with Lions International, the Junior Chamber, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Boy Scouts of America. He is married to the former Roberta Carroll (born April 1938), originally from Baton Rouge and regionally known as a gospel singer. In 1981, Mrs. Kitchens, who was involved in the writing of some fifty songs and in the production of four television specials, was named "Minden Woman of the Year".
The Kitchenses' son, Graydon, III, is married to the former Kimberly Bennett (born March 1967). The Kitchenses' oldest daughter, Amy Lynn Kitchens Butler (born April 1968), is married to James Bryan Butler (born October 1967); they reside in Bossier City. The Kitchenses' youngest daughter, Allison Lee Copple (born May 1970), is the wife of Eric Blaine Copple (born July 1972); they reside in Shreveport. Graydon and Roberta Kitchens have long been active in the First Baptist Church of Minden. Kitchens was also involved with the Baptist Student Union while at LSU.
In 2003, Judge Kitchens, representing the Minden Family Forum, led the unsuccessful opposition to a referendum to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in Minden restaurants. The community had been previously dry for many decades.
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- "Graydon K. Kitchens Jr". avvo.com. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- "Graydon K. Kitchens Jr., attorney". lawyer.com. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- "Kitchens defeats Hobbs for judge post here", Minden Press-Herald, June 7, 1976, p. 1
- "Henry Hobbs obituary". Shreveport Times, January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "State of Louisiana v. James M. Monds". leagle.com. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Danny Anderson, "Lawyer: Death No Puzzle," Minden Press-Herald, May 5, 1994, pp. 1-2.
- Pat Culverhouse, "Bullers rejects theory: nothing new," Minden Press-Herald, May 6, 1994, p. 1.
- Allen J. M. Smith, "Kitchens is Outstanding Jurist'", Minden Press-Herald, March 8, 1996, p. 1.
- "Kitchens to retire", Minden Press-Herald, July 1, 1996, p. 1.
- Minden Press-Herald, December 11, 1996, p. 9.
- "Mr. Graydon K. Kitchens Jr., managing partner". zoominfo.com. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Minden Press-Herald, May 27, 1976, p. 5
- "Click "by Voter", Graydon Kitchens, July 1936". voterportal.sos.la.gov. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Minden Press-Herald, March 20, 2014, p. 1
- Margie Dale, "Roberta Kitchens Is Woman of Year", Minden Press-Herald, February 12, 1981, p. 1
John W. "Jack" Montgomery (interim)
| Minden and Webster Parish Ward I Judge
Graydon Kelly Kitchens Jr.
R. Harmon Drew Sr.
Enos C. McClendon Jr.
| Judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court
Graydon Kelly Kitchens Jr.
Ford E. Stinson Jr.
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