The District Attorney's Office in each parish receives criminal reports of arrests and investigations from law enforcement agencies and decides whether to file formal court charges in the matter.
In some instances, particularly when the crime is punishable by life in prison or when more information is required to decide the appropriate charge, the case may be assigned to be heard by a Grand Jury, a body of citizens from the parish who make the decision on whether to indict the offender.
Each case formally charged is randomly assigned by the parish Clerk of Court to one of the Third Judicial District's three divisions. Each division of each parish has numerous preset criminal court days for arraignments, hearings, and other pretrial matters. Each of the three divisions also has several terms per year, per parish for trials (petit juries).
It is our goal in the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office to move criminal cases through the system to resolution as quickly as possible while at the same time safeguarding the rights of the defendants.
Many cases are resolved without trial by agreement between the defendant and the District Attorney's Office, but only when the interests of the identified victims, law enforcement and the State are best served by such an agreement.
Under Louisiana's laws, misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by a term in parish or local jail. More serious crimes (felonies) are punishable by imprisonment in state prison or death.
The Misdemeanor staff in the Third Judicial District includes: Assistant District Attorneys Michael Smith and Kywonna Drake. The staff includes: Zakeeah Smith, Leigh Anne McCorkle and Phyllis Rambin.
Under Louisiana's laws, felonies are any crime for which an offender may be sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
The Felony staff in the Third Judicial District includes: Assistant District Attorneys Lewis Jones, Laurie James, Kyle Green, Michael Mahaffey, Tracy Houck, Steve Hearn and Rob Moore. The staff includes: Brittani White, Theresa Garlington, Thana Cook and Chantele Maxey.