Dagate, Ellender Jr. Sworn in as New Judges for the Terrebonne Parish 32nd District Court

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Two judges were officially administered their oaths of office on Tuesday morning.

Former First Assistant District Attorney Jason Dagate and attorney Timothy Ellender Jr. were both sworn in as judges of the 32nd Judicial District Court during an investiture ceremony at the Terrebonne Parish Courthouse.

Dagate and Ellender Jr. were sworn in alongside other city and district court incumbents as part of the ceremony. Dagate and Ellender are filling the seats of two retiring judges, Judge Johnny Walker and Judge George Larke Jr., respectively.

Dagate was a prosecutor for 14 years, and the youngest prosecutor to be named first assistant district attorney in Terrebonne Parish, and won his seat on the bench without opposition over the fall. Dagate was sworn in by Associate Justice, soon to be Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, John Weimer.

“To my fellow judges, members of the bar who are present with us, my friends and family, and the great citizens of our community, thank you for celebrating this special day with us and all of the judges. I’m truly honored and humbled to serve you as district judge here in Terrebonne Parish in division B,” Dagate said. “I’m grateful to the community and to the members of the bar, for having such trust in me that I was elected without opposition.”

Dagate recognized his late father, local attorney Jimmy Dagate, as a key part of his motivation to run for the open seat, and that through his own children, he felt the pride that his father felt for him.

“It doesn’t seem like it was emotional or difficult maybe for some other people, but for me, it was quite overwhelming. Truth be told, at times I wonder if I can live up to that, and I’m thankful that you showed that respect with me. But I’m not naive that a lot of it had to do with who came before me,” Dagate said.

Ellender Jr. was sworn in by his father, retired judge Timothy Ellender Sr., who has spent over 30 years in the 32nd District Court of Terrebonne Parish. The younger Ellender practiced law for 22 years before running for the second open seat and winning it outright.

Ellender Jr. invoked the words of Socrates during his speech, describing the duties of a judge.

“Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially. ‘And that sums up what we all should emulate,’” Ellender Jr. said.

“I’m going to be someone who’s going to hold justice in the court’s hands. And I appreciate that, and for the voters and for the opportunity to serve and dispense justice. And I promise to balance worded justice with a humble and empathetic heart,” Ellender Jr. said.