LIVINGSTON – After nearly 24 years on the bench, Judge Doug Hughes announced Friday that he will be retiring effective Sunday.
“It’s been a great run,” Hughes said. “It was my dream from as far back as law school to serve as a judge.
“I’ve had that chance since I was 36 years old,” Hughes said. “Now I want to take advantage of some unique opportunities with my family.”
“I’m going to miss my courtroom, that’s for certain. But being a judge is my job; it’s not who I am,” Hughes said.
“My daughter is living and working in Washington, D.C., and my son is a college student in Mississippi – my wife and I plan to travel and spend more time with them.
“We want to enjoy this season of our lives,” Hughes said.
Because he is retiring by June 30, the election to replace Hughes can be held Oct. 12, so the state doesn’t incur the expense of a special election.
The Denham Springs native is the son of the late Dr. Milton Hughes, who served 44 years on the Livingston Parish School Board, and the late Gloria Grantham Hughes.
Hughes was elected in October 1995 to replace Judge Jimmy Kuhn in the 21st Judicial District, which includes Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.
His first years were in Family and Juvenile Court.
“Juvenile Court was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time on the bench,” Hughes said.
“It’s where you actually feel like you can make a difference in kids’ lives. I’ve seen that happen – lives changed for the good.”
Hughes moved to a criminal/civil docket in 1997.
In 2016, Hughes’ sister, Charlotte Hughes Foster, was elected to the 21st Judicial District Court, making them the first siblings to serve on the bench together in Louisiana.
“I’ve always tried to be fair, and to always remember that when I’m looking at a long docket, each one of those cases is life-changing for someone,” Hughes said.
“It’s personal – and as a judge I have to treat each one with that in mind,” he said.