Caddo District Attorney James Stewart set some big goals when he was sworn into office Dec. 29, 2015.
The former judge recently took time to sit down with KSLA News 12 to reflect on his first year in office.
“What I came here to do was establish professionalism, ethics and accountability in office,” said Stewart, who previously sat on Louisiana’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal and the Caddo District Court benches.
While on the campaign trail in November 2015, Stewart said there was a dark cloud over the district attorney’s office in the wake of negative media coverage nationally. “The rivers of justice are muddy right now.”
Slightly more than a year later, Stewart said he perceives the public’s perception of the district attorney’s office to be different now.
“There is a lot that goes on in this office, a lot of good people working hard. I think the challenge was to bring them on board in one direction, instead of it being about one person.”
Stewart campaigned on the belief that Caddo does not need to high incarceration rates and a lot of death penalty cases. He now believes the district attorney’s office is moving in the right direction.
“When I first came in, we had 6 pending death penalty cases. Now we have 1.
“Since I’ve been here, we have had 3 reversed that were tried by the previous administration.”
The district attorney’s office has rejected 2,747 charges this year. That’s 258 more than the number rejected in 2015.
Stewart said his office has been focused on having each pending case screened. “We are a little more aggressive because we want to move the cases and seek justice.”
The worst thing that can happen in any prosecutor’s office is sitting on cases that don’t fit the criteria to go to trial, Stewart said. “It’s about every day working hard on each and every case and trying to get a resolution to them.”
Stewart hopes the public also has confidence that his office is moving in the right direction in terms of both prosecuting cases and carrying out justice.
By Victoria Shirley
via KSLA News 12