|Present Employer / position||Criminal District Court|
|Length of residence in Jurisdiction||25+ years|
|List of educational institutions and degrees||Washington University in St. Louis Bachelors of Arts|
Tulane Law School Juris Doctorate
|Prior elected and appointed positions||Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Section E 2008 |
Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Section E 2016
|Civic involvement and affiliations||Roots of Music Board Chair|
Louisiana Appleseed Board Member
Ursuline Academy Board of Trustees
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
| 1. What are your thoughts about the current bail system? Are you open to releasing more defendants on their own recognizance? What changes do you think are most needed?
||We begin with the premise that people are innocent until proven guilty, and that the purpose of bail is to ensure a person's appearance in court at minimum risk to the community. As the District Attorney I will advocate for a system that ensures that poor people do not remain in jail simply because they are poor. My office will continue the efforts that I led as the Chief Judge, by supporting the release of nonviolent offenders on recognizance bonds when eligible. My office will also assist the court by providing specific information about the incident to allow them to protect victims from violent offenders. I will work closely with our legislature to create a system that is fair to the accused, while ensuring safety in our community. |
| 2. What changes would you make to improve the handling of domestic abuse cases?
||As the District Attorney I will create a special unit of attorneys and case managers to handle domestic violence cases. I will endeavor to have the attorney/case managers meet with the victims on all battery charges prior to the defendant's bail hearing to ensure that the court is fully apprised of the defendant's risk to the victim. If we cannot meet with the victim before the first appearance hearing, we will advocate for a Gwen's Law hearing on all cases involving strangulation or when the victim is pregnant. |
| 3. What procedures will you implement to ensure compliance with current law regarding weapons confiscation for defendants in domestic abuse cases?
||As the District Attorney, I recognize that the current law as written places the responsibility of compliance with the local sheriff's office. However, at first appearances I will ensure that representatives of my office inquire if a defendant owns or possesses a firearm. If so, we will then request a 48 hour compliance hearing to ensure the defendant and the sheriff's office have completed the process. If not, we will alert the court, and request the appropriate action be taken.|
| 4. What are your thoughts about the best funding mechanism for the public defender's office?
||Recognizing that the City is the funding source, as the District Attorney I will advocate for the public defender's office to receive the appropriate funding to provide proper defense of their clients. In order to ensure equity in the entire criminal justice system all aspects of the system must be funded so they can provide quality services. The budget allocation should not be tied to fines and fees, but rather the money should come from the general fund, ensuring that the allocation is not built on the backs of the accused. |
| 5. Given the high incarceration rates, what are your plans about diversion / rehabilitation programs vs jail time?
||Nonviolent offenses are often a byproduct of a greater problem which cannot be solved by incarceration. As the District Attorney I plan to expand diversion programs to include people who have a criminal history, those with a history of drug addiction, and to those battling other mental health conditions. We will partner with community programs to assist in providing appropriate treatment and care. We will also work with education centers to provide job training and placement. Furthermore, the judges will not need the approval of the District Attorney to recommend entry into Drug Court programs. |