NEW ORLEANS – Yesterday, District Attorney Williams, joined by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, District E Councilmember Oliver Thomas, New Orleans Public Library Executive Director and City Librarian Emily Painton and community leaders, cut ribbon on the new District Attorney’s Satellite Office in New Orleans East. Hosted at the East New Orleans Regional Library, the facility will bring the services and resources of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) to the New Orleans East community.
“The DA’s Satellite Office is the next step in realizing my office’s commitment to the people of New Orleans East, specifically those who are justice-involved. We recognize the importance of meeting people in community and will absolutely use this space to ensure that those who are in need of services and resources from the DA’s Office have access to them,” said District Attorney Williams. “This initiative is only possible due to a shared vision and partnership with Mayor Cantrell and the New Orleans Public Library to fully utilize all public spaces. This is another example of how our agencies are working together and building new ways to better ensure safety and support to the people of New Orleans.”
Every Wednesday from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, OPDA will have Adult Diversion staff available to provide individuals in the OPDA diversion program with access to services in the community. Diversion clients will be able to take part in pre-scheduled and walk-in visits. Additionally, this space will be available for OPDA’s Juvenile Diversion team and Victim/Witness Advocates as well as other community outreach efforts from OPDA. To ensure safety, the DA’s Satellite Office will be staffed by a post-certified Investigator.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “As the DA mentioned, we are focused on meeting people where they are. You cannot overstate that enough because that is what it is going to take. Being right here in New Orleans East and opening up the first satellite branch of the DA’s Office is just another example of meeting people where they are.”
District E Councilmember Oliver Thomas said, “Anytime public officials make a move to get closer to their citizens, it demonstrates their commitment in wanting people to have access. It’s my hope that other governmental agencies/departments, who provide services citywide, are paying attention to this move by our District Attorney to make an investment in New Orleans East, one of the largest populations in the region, as we have room for others to invest as well. Kudos to District Attorney Jason Williams in this effort to be close to our community.”
New Orleans Public Library Executive Director and City Librarian Emily Painton said, “We welcome the District Attorney’s Office to East New Orleans Regional Library. Libraries strive to provide access, and, by opening our doors to the DA, we ensure that New Orleanians have access to the resources they need.”
OPDA continues to work toward increasing safety by prosecuting violent crime cases in court, including murders, rapes, armed robberies, and shootings. Since judges resumed jury trials in March, OPDA has secured unanimous convictions in 10 of 13 cases taken to court. Additionally, OPDA has secured 90 grand jury indictments for a number of violent offenses and secured over 2,000 guilty pleas since DA Williams took office. This office is committed to accepting cases for prosecution that come from law enforcement with necessary evidence. This has included 91% of murder and attempted murder charges accepted, 68% of motor vehicle theft charges accepted and 70% of weapons offense charges accepted. For more on these numbers, please visit orleansda.com.
Some cases referred to OPDA are more appropriately addressed through diversion. OPDA’s diversion program provides participants the opportunity to have their charges refused after completing the appropriate program requirements. The program is designed to deter any future criminal activity by addressing the participant’s needs through counseling, education, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services. This type of diversion program for less serious matters frees up prosecutors and investigators to stay laser-focused on bringing to court violent crimes like shootings and carjackings that are harming communities.
OPDA Diversion Division Chief Abby Fremin said, “Diversion programs work best when they’re embedded in communities, and they know the people that make up those communities. In addition to improving accessibility, this Satellite Office ensures that the services we offer are closer to home.”