Former 19th Judicial District Court Judge Mike Erwin died in his sleep from natural causes according to District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Judge Erwin served East Baton Rouge Parish from 1991 till his retirement in March 2019 making him the longest serving judge in EBR Parish.
Prior to that, he was an assistant district attorney in EBR and an assistant city prosecutor.
Moore issued a statement on his dear friend’s passing at the age of 72:
“Mike Erwin was a true friend to many people down to his last breath. I’m fortunate to have known him and was one of his good friends. We first met at LSU and later met again when I became an investigator for the DA and he became an assistant DA.
He was the main person who encouraged me to attend law school and directed me to the Southern law center where he graduated.
Mike was a great Ada who was especially talented as a trial lawyer an arguing to the jury
He was one of the brightest men I have ever known. As a judge he had the ability to “cut to the chase” on complicated legal issues. As a judge he raised several generations of you g lawyers of every race, religion, gender etc. He was always available for any lawyer on all cases.
Mike was also a tremendous athlete in high school and later as a softball player snd an avid golfer.
He loved sports but Southern snd LSU. He lived and died purple and gold especially football and baseball. He also was a huge fan of the New York Yankees.”
18th JDC District Attorney Tony Clayton was also good friends with Judge Erwin.
“Judge Erwin was one of my mentors,” said Clayton. “As a matter of fact, when Doug Moreau first hired me, I was assigned to Judge Erwin’s courtroom. I remember one of my first jury trials was a situation in which a gentleman from Denham Springs was involved in a road rage incident in which he pulled a 30-yard 6 rifle on an individual on Joor Rd. & it happened in the month of April. I had the defendant on the stand on cross-examination and I asked him what was he doing with a rifle and he said he had just finished deer hunting. I took a break and Judge Erwin called me to the stand and he said, ‘Hey dumbass, you forgot to ask the right question.’ I asked, ‘What?’ He said, ‘What state are you in?’ I said, ‘Louisiana.’ He said, ‘What month are you in?’ I said, ‘April.’ He said, ‘You don’t hunt deer in April.’ That was my favorite teachable moment as a young prosecutor. Judge Erwin would always help young lawyers. I loved the man.”
Judge Erwin was known for being quite colorful on the bench. In fact, there was controversy in 2017 where he was accused of using racial slurs while at Sammy’s Restaurant. It’s why he was banned from the restaurant. Judge Erwin denied using any such language.
Erwin was 72 years old at the time of his death. He leaves behind his wife Sue Erwin, a son Chris and several grandchildren.