Patricia Head Minaldi
|Patricia Head Minaldi|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana|
May 9, 2003
|Appointed by||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||James T. Trimble Jr.|
|Born||1959 (age 57–58)
|Education||Wesleyan University B.A.
Tulane University Law School J.D.
Patricia Head Minaldi (born 1959) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. She is currently on indefinite medical leave of absence.
Early life and education
Following law school graduation, Minaldi was an assistant district attorney of New Orleans from 1983 to 1986. She was an assistant district attorney of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana from 1986 to 1996. She was a judge on the 14th Judicial District Court, Louisiana from 1996 to 2003.
Federal judicial career
Minaldi was nominated to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana by President George W. Bush on January 15, 2003. The seat had been vacated by Judge James Trimble, who took senior status. Minaldi was confirmed by the Senate on May 6, 2003 on a Senate vote and received her commission on May 9, 2003.
In February 2016, during voir dire in a criminal trial, Minaldi failed to determine if jurors were qualified citizens and failed to deliver any preliminary instructions. At one point in the trial, Minaldi stopped the questioning of a witness discussing a computer application because she was ignorant of what a "drop-down menu" was. After the public defender made a motion for curative measures, Minaldi ordered the prosecutor to deliver preliminary instructions to the jury, stopping to complain to the prosecutor, "I have no idea what’s going on here. Get your act together." After the prosecutor and public defender jointly moved for a mistrial, the chief district judge removed Minaldi from the case and assigned it to Judge Donald Ellsworth Walter, who then declared a mistrial.
In 2014, Minaldi was arrested by Lake Charles, Louisiana police for having an open alcoholic beverage inside her vehicle. Following a police investigation, Minaldi was charged with first-offense driving while intoxicated (DWI). Minaldi subsequently pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility in court; she received a deferred sentence and was fined $400, among other penalties.
Indefinite medical leave
In January 2017, the Clerk of the Western District of Louisiana confirmed that Minaldi had surrendered her entire docket of cases and had taken medical leave. It is not known exactly which day she took leave or how long it will continue. It is also unknown what circumstances compelled her to take leave.
- Cassens Weiss, Debra (6 December 2016). "Federal judge who questioned meaning of 'drop-down menu,' didn't instruct jurors is tossed from case". ABA Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Federal judge charged with first-offense DWI, dash cam video released, KPLC (February 2014).
- Federal judge pleads guilty to DWI in Lake Charles, Associated Press (March 3, 2014).
- Federal judge who surrendered cases takes medical leave, Associated Press (January 26, 2017).
James Travis Trimble, Jr.
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana