Vote On November 3rd


The American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice invoke the aspirational goal of every district attorney’s office: treating each and every defendant, victim, and witness with fairness and dignity. These standards emphasize the prosecutor’s duty to look beyond the immediate demands of the cases that pass through their offices. “The prosecutor is not merely a case processor – but also a problem-solver responsible for considering broad goals of the criminal justice system.” (See the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice Prosecution and Defense Function, Standard 3-1.2(f) (4th ed. 20150.

I believe it is time for the Caddo Parish prosecutor to step up and start fulfilling the role as a problem-solver. We’ve had enough figureheads; we need an action figure.

When elected I plan to use as one of my guides the principles presented in “Fair and Just Prosecution; 21 Principles for the 21st Century Prosecutor,” a briefing paper published by the Brennan Center for Justice after several years of work by some of the brightest minds addressing the subject of criminal justice.

These 21 principles are divided into 2 components each having a specific focus or strategy. The first 10 principles address the tactics meant to reduce the world record number of people incarcerated in our nation’s prisons.

The second component and its 11 tactics focus on increasing fairness throughout the system.

Clearly some tactics can begin within days of a new leader taking office. Others may take several years to put into practice. And frankly, some may never be employed either because the community does not “buy-in” to that principle or it just won’t work in our parish.

THIS IS MY PLATFORM: Here are the 21 principles I will employ to re-imagine a bold 21st Century Caddo Parish District Attorney. Please understand I by no means present this as my original work. It is totally an outline which I have liberally used as the basis for my platform.



Well designed programs that divert people from jail or prison, or from the justice system entirely, can conserve resources, reduce re-offending, and diminish the collateral harms of criminal prosecution. I will not waste the precious resources of the DA’s office prosecuting petty offenses that could much more sensibly and reasonably be addressed in an assortment of well-planned and well-staffed diversion programs.


Cases will be rigorously screened early in the process. Charges will reflect both the facts and the circumstances of each case and be designed to achieve a just result. A “one size fits all” attitude will no longer be employed.

There will be no threats of increasing the charge or the sentence of a defendant merely because the defendant chooses to exercise a right to a preliminary hearing or a motion to suppress, or heaven forbid, even a trial by his peers.


Most people in jail in the United States are there because they can’t afford bail. This starting point serves no public safety purpose, effectively punishes people for being poor, and pressures them to plead guilty. It costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year; enriching the bail bond industry and local sheriffs.

I will be sending many folks into diversion before they ever even step foot in jail. With rare exceptions, there will be no “inmates” in our local jails merely because they can’t make a $1,000 bond. Any who are already there will be released with the proper instructions as to when they need to appear for court appearances. Trained DA personnel will be screening intake paperwork. The savings from all the empty beds in the local jails will more than cover the costs of these new positions.


Today America’s largest psychiatric facilities are not hospitals, but jails and prisons. People with mental illness are less likely to make bail and more likely to fact longer sentences. I will work with community organizations and agencies to promote community-based services to stabilize people who otherwise end up in jail.


The “war on drugs” was an abysmal failure. It failed to curb drug use or make communities safer. Instead, it has resulted in destructive policing and prosecution, disproportionately affecting communities of color.

It is past time for a change. I will move toward decriminalizing drug addiction. I will not prosecute low-level marijuana possession. I will support legislation that decriminalizes marijuana and reclassifies other simple drug possession as a misdemeanor or civil violation. I will expunge (or seek sentencing reductions for) past convictions that would be treated differently today.


The adolescent brain differs from the adult brain in ways that increase the likelihood of risky and reckless behavior. Neurological development continues until around the age of 25. Most young people who commit crimes don’t continue to do so in adulthood.

I believe the Caddo Juvenile Court is a broken system incapable of meeting even the minimum standards of a 21st Century juvenile justice system. Allowing it to continue operation as it is cheats the children, parents, and this community. The people are not getting their money’s worth out of that institution. It needs to be totally revamped.


Misdemeanor charges make up 80% of typical state and local dockets. The majority are for offenses like trespassing, loitering, prostitution, and drug possession.

Arrests and prosecutions for misdemeanors and violations can significantly people’s lives even when they result in short sentences or probation, costing people their employment, housing, student loans, immigration status, and even their children, and contribute to a cycle of incarceration and poverty that is hard to break.

I would establish “cite and release” programs to keep people out of jail and divert them into community programs


I will speak out for protecting the rights of immigrants and oppose policies that entangle local law enforcement in federal immigration enforcers. I will also protect immigrants who serve as witnesses and report crimes.


Research shows that crime victims often do not feel that prosecution and sentencing serve them well. Restorative justice can help address their concerns. These programs have a consistent track record of achieving lower rates of recidivism than traditional penalties.


Supervision increases the likelihood that people who are otherwise at low risk of re-offending will end up incarcerated for technical violations that have little to do with public safety. The majority of violations occur within the first year, suggesting that supervision beyond that point serves little to no rehabilitative purpose.


The dynamics inside a prosecutor’s office have a tremendous effect on the pursuit of justice in the community and the system as a whole. I will make changes to make sure the Caddo Parish prosecutor’s office is known for its transparency, its accountability, and its equitable and just dispositions.


Because of the enormous influence prosecutors wield, they are in the best position to improve the safety and well-being of our communities. Fairness is paramount. Fairness builds trust which in turn aids both police and prosecutors in solving crime.

The progressive prosecutor must be able and willing to work with other agencies. All aspects of the community must be engaged and believe their voices will be heard and respected.

Each and every member of my district attorney’s office will bear in mind their roles as ministers of justice. They must consider the rights, needs, and interests of all members of our community.

Performance standards reflecting these values will be established. Evaluations will never be based on number of convictions, trial wins, or lengths of sentences. Instead, I will consider how well my team accomplishes reductions in incarceration, reducing pretrial detention, and recidivism.

I will make data available to the public so you can hold me accountable for the performance of the office.


Extensive evidence shows that racial disparity exists at every stage of the justice system. As your district attorney, I will be looking closely as the relevant data and will work to promote equity and a healthier, more cooperative relationship with all members of our community. I will be an action figure, rather than a figurehead.

I plan to engage my office and our community in a reflective conversation about the role of prosecutors in racial inequity. We all have a story to tell. I want to hear yours.


Since the early 2000s, many progressive prosecutors have established “Conviction Review Units” (CRUs, also called Conviction Integrity Units). Their purpose is to scrutinize old cases to determine whether the outcomes were tainted by unjust practices, faulty evidence, or bias.

My office will not only scrutinize claims of actual innocence but will also review cases in which they may have been a serious violation of a defendant’s rights or other miscarriages of justice which may have contributed to his or her conviction or excessive sentence.

I will use the CRU as a tool for identifying and addressing the root causes of flawed prosecutions, such as Brady violations or reliance on discredited science, and incorporate lessons learned into office wide training and policy changes.


Discovery – the process for sharing information with the defense – is essential to the fair administration of justice. My office will take an expansive approach to discovery by making early and broad disclosures. This will to two things: (a) enhance the prompt and fair resolution of cases; and (b) increase the accountability of law enforcement.

It has been my experience that criminal cases frequently languish for months in Caddo Parish with multiple, meaningless, and needless court appearances because the DA’s office is still waiting for law enforcement to provide them with discovery. That will not be allowed to continue.

I will insist that discovery is disclosed as soon as possible after charges are filed and which will speed up plea discussions and allow for ample time to prepare for trial.

I will form a committee to decide how to collect and disseminate to the defense and courts findings of misconduct in police personnel files.

I will consider creating a database that all prosecutors in the office can easily access and that includes information on police officers who have been found to have lied in the course of their jobs, committed civil rights violations, or used excessive force.

Likewise, I will ensure appropriate consequences for prosecutors who improperly and intentionally fail to disclose evidence, including discipline, firing, and reporting ethical violations to the state bar.


When an officer is credibly accused of using excessive force or engaging in misconduct, the allegations must be thoroughly investigated. Such investigations must be safeguarded by procedures focused on ensuring independence, impartiality, and transparency.

The DA’s office must be afforded immediate notification of every officer-involved shooting and misconduct allegation in order for personnel from the office to go to the scene and timely share information.

The DA’s office must work with law enforcement partners on public disclosure of body and dash-cam videos. I will adopt a policy requiring prompt release of the videos.

As DA I will find it difficult to proceed with a prosecution in any “resisting an officer” case, if law enforcement fails to provide body and/or dash-cam videos.


When fines are imposed after a conviction, they’re intended as a form of deterrent and punishment.

Fees in criminal court play a different role: they shift the costs of the criminal justice system from taxpayers in general to the people who appear in court.

While fines can be an alternative to incarceration, they must be levied only after an investigation of the person’s ability to pay. The “one size fits all” fixed fines are unfair. They must come to an end. We cannot operate our jail as a debtors’ prison.

I will advocate for assessing fees and fines on a sliding scale. The will be based on income and assets and will take into account debts and financial obligations such as child support and health care costs.

I will support reasonable payment plans and oppose requiring people to return to court again and again because of incomplete payments.

I will advocate for the elimination of driver’s license revocations and suspension for non-payment of fines and fees in criminal cases.

I will work with courts to reinstate licenses and create diversion programs for people arrested for driving on a suspended license when the suspension is for unpaid fines and fees. I will support defense motions to reduce or waive fines and fees based on indigency.

Unless mandated by statute, I will no longer use assistant district attorneys to prosecute child support arrearage cases for the State’s Support Enforcement Services. That is best left to the attorneys who work in that Department.

I would oppose continuing or extending probation solely because of unpaid fines and fees.


Fact: About 70 million Americans have a criminal record; this is about the same number as those who possess a college degree. A criminal record makes it harder to get a job or find housing. People may lose access to public benefits and become ineligible to receive federal loans. Others may be unable to obtain professional and occupational licenses. Research shows the stigma of having a record is worse for minority job applicants than for white ones. This means racial disparity in the system continues to affect people long after their sentences are served. We have to work on this.

I would support automated expungement for acts that are no longer criminal (for example, marijuana possession after state legalization).

I would support automated sealing or expungement of arrest records that did not lead to charges or convictions, or after a certain period of time has passed.

I would host workshops for job trains, resume writing programs, and mock interviews. I would encourage employers to hire people with criminal records.

I would support raising the age for sealing juvenile records to the age of 21.

I would support efforts to ensure accuracy of criminal records (especially databases used by law enforcement which list outstanding arrest warrants).


The continued use of unreliable and misleading forensic evidence imperils the integrity of the criminal justice system. We are blessed with advances in science and technology which have helped solve crimes and exonerate people who were wrongfully convicted.

I will make sure lawyers in the Caddo DA’s office use forensic evidence that is foundationally valid and valid as applied. It will be based on 21st Century standards. It will not be forensic evidence supported only by an expert’s experience as opposed to validated methods and studies.

I will make sure your DA’s office continually examines emerging scientific literature which may also call old methods into question and train staff about these changes.

I will train my assistants to understand the validity of any proffered evidence and expert testimony. This is extremely important because of the degree juries tend to overvalue such testimony.


FACT: “Countless studies have shown that the death penalty is fraught with error, provides no known public safety benefit, than other sentences, and is routinely imposed on people with diminished culpability, including the intellectually disabled and mentally ill, teenagers, and people who have experienced extreme childhood trauma.”

Studies also show that the death penalty is applied in a racially discriminatory manner.

It is expensive and puts victims through decades of litigation and uncertainty.

Death penalties have been imposed increasingly concentrated in a small number of jurisdictions. In fact, two percent of our counties/parishes are responsible for the majority of death sentences nationwide.

I will not seek the death penalty in any case prosecuted during my six years as Caddo Parish District Attorney.


Reducing the spending on prisons has bipartisan support. For years state prosecutors prided themselves on being tough on crime as proven by the lengthy prison sentences they were able to secure. That theory has been debunked.

As your District Attorney, I will calculate the cost savings of alternatives to incarceration and factor it into plea offers and sentencing recommendations.

As your District Attorney, I will calculate the expected cost of incarceration for a proposed jail or prison sentence and announce it before sentencing, so judges and the public can consider it.

I will work with legislators to reduce corrections budgets along with declining prison and jail populations. I will then advocate for the reinvestment of savings in crime prevention, improved law enforcement, recidivism reduction, and improving the lives of people and the communities affected by incarceration.


FACT: “Commonly used terms like convict, ex-convict, felon, and inmate are dehumanizing. They reduce people to their criminal status and perpetuate the stigma of criminal convictions, promoting negative stereotypes that inhibit reform and impede rehabilitation and re-entry.”

We all agree words have meaning. We also know that language affects perception. I will expect my entire staff to join me in changing the narrative of crime and justice.

I will counsel prospectors to avoid dehumanizing language in court. Words like “animal.” and “gangbanger” and “the wrong element” have no place in the courtroom.

Constitutional protections will not be called “technicalities” and “loopholes.”

Criminal justice reform requires all officers of the court and ministers of justice to talk about “mercy,” and “justice,” “compassion,” and “fairness.”