“I am proud to have grown up in Winnfield,” says Mike Crawford, Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the United State Middle District of Louisiana, who visited with Rotarians at the weekly meeting of the Winnfield Rotary Club on October 4, 2023. Mike was the son of Morris Crawford, who served in the Winnfield Rotary Club for many years, including serving as president in 1966 and attaining the status of Paul Harris Fellow in 1992.
According to Judge Crawford, his father instilled in him the importance of service to the community, which he has carried on in his adulthood by serving on the board of the Special Olympics of Louisiana and becoming the legal advisor to the board of the Special Olympics, which is, of course, an unpaid job. Having served in these capacities for over 15 years, Judge Crawford was named to the Special Olympics of Louisiana Hall of Fame. He currently serves on the board of the Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Judge Crawford credits his father and Rotarian Mickey Simmons, local attorney, with inspiring him to attend law school.
Judge Crawford insists his attaining the federal judgeship was merely happenstance flowing from his serving a clerkship on the U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Opelousas right out of law school, where he met many lawyers practicing in the field of bankruptcy and obtained a job with the prestigious Baton Rouge law firm of Taylor Porter. He had no thoughts of seeking a judgeship until he was informed by the prior bankruptcy judge in Baton Rouge that he was stepping down, with an unspoken suggestion that Mike should seek the post.
The appointment of a federal bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of Louisiana is the duty of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which appoints a committee to review and investigate applicants and make a recommendation to the Court of Appeals. Crawford was the subject of a comprehensive investigation by the FBI before the appointment by the Court of Appeals.
Judge Crawford received the letter notifying him of his appointment to the federal judgeship on October 3, 2022, and his investiture to the position took place on October 7, 2022, so his appearance in his “home town” took place amidst the celebration of his one-year anniversary as the Middle District Bankruptcy Judge.
Mrs. Jane Purser, whom Judge Crawford credits as a “second mother” to him as the mother of one of his best friends growing up, was responsible for getting Judge Crawford to speak to Rotary. Among special guests attending the meeting were another of the Judge’s best friends, Marty Harrel. Also in attendance was Mike’s first grade teacher, Kathy Guin, who was in her first year of teaching when Mike was in her class.