The Appellate Section of the District Attorney's Office handles many different aspects of the legal field. For the most part the section is involved in appeals filed by the defendant after a conviction. The section prepares and files documents with the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, Louisiana Supreme Court, Federal Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Bond Forfeiture Division forfeits a criminal defendant's bond based on his/her failure to appear for court. When a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court date, the person (personal surety or commercial bondsman) who posted the bail has 180 day (6 months) to locate the defendant and bring him/her into court.
The Civil Division of our office provides legal counsel and representation to many local government entities. Our office advises and represents them in legal matters that may arise in the performance of their duties and in many instances represents them in litigation.
Pursuant to Louisiana law, a felony is defined as any crime for which the punishment may be death or imprisonment at hard labor. One felony Assistant District Attorney is assigned to each division of court, and that ADA handles all felonies that come into that division.
Our Juvenile Delinquency Division handles the prosecution of all the juvenile crimes in our parish, as well as the Families in Need of Services (FINS) matters. Depending on the age of the offenders, many of these types of cases can initially be handled without court action by an Assistant District Attorney who makes a referral to the intake department of the Parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services.
Our Misdemeanor Section handles all misdemeanor crimes. Approximately 2,500 of these cases come through the District Attorney's Office a year. Along with answering phone calls from the general public regarding court dates and other various issues concerning a defendant's charges, the secretaries each have assigned divisions and duties. Those duties include processing all misdemeanor criminal files, setting them for Grand Jury and checking all arrest and bond information relating to the file/defendant, before routing it to be set for either misdemeanor or felony court.
Special Victims Unit
The Special Victims Unit handles all aspects of prosecution of Domestic Violence cases as well as Severe Child Abuse cases. The Unit works closely with victims of crime to assist families in terminating the cycle of abuse while also ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect. It is our mission to educate victims of crime on the protection of their rights, while at the same time aggressively prosecuting their offenders.
The 14th Judicial District Adult Specialty Court Program is a joint endeavor between the judges of the 14th Judicial District and Calcasieu Parish District Attorney Stephen C Dwight. The Honorable David A. Ritchie and the Honorable G. Michael Canaday are the presiding judges over Adult Drug Court and DWI Court. The Honorable Robert L. Wyatt and the Honorable Derrick Kee are the presiding judges over Behavioral Health Court and Re-Entry Court. The Honorable David A. Ritchie and the Honorable Kendrick J. Guidry preside over Veterans Treatment Court. The Honorable Tony Fazzio also sits on our specialty court team, presiding occasionally.
Specialty Court clients are closely monitored by the specialty court team members, and they are subjected to random drug screens and intensive court supervision. Clients also receive therapy and counseling to assist in their rehabilitation. The program is designed to help non-violent offenders to get off of drugs and to stay off of them. It also helps clients to obtain education and employment, and to become productive members of society. It is funded and supervised by the Louisiana Supreme Court Drug Court Office.