The Honorable Jason Rogers Williams was sworn in as District Attorney of Orleans Parish on January 11, 2021.

District Attorney Jason Williams was born in New Orleans in 1972 to Sidney Williams, a master carpenter, and Janice Rogers, a school teacher. He spent much of his childhood in Georgia, where he attended high school at Woodward Academy (formerly the Georgia Military Academy). Throughout his four years of high school, District Attorney Williams was elected class president and was named “Senior Superlative: Class Leader” by his senior class. He then returned to New Orleans to attend Tulane University in 1990, where he walked onto the football team, eventually earning a full scholarship and being awarded the Martin M. Kelly Award for leadership on and off the field. District Attorney Williams was once again elected class president for all four years of college.

He began studying law at Tulane Law School immediately upon graduating and, once again, was elected class president for all three years. District Attorney Williams’s oral advocacy won him a place on the Moot Court board, and as a third-year law student, he took his first cases for poor criminal defendants through Tulane’s Criminal Law Clinic. District Attorney Williams was inducted into the Order of the Barristers based on his three years of excellence in courtroom advocacy.


Since 2002, District Attorney Williams has dedicated a sizable portion of his pro bono efforts to working with Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO), a non-profit that investigates and seeks to free wrongly convicted prisoners in Louisiana. His first success with IPNO was in helping to free two wrongly convicted men—Greg Bright and Earl Truvia. In 1976, Greg and Earl were 19 and 17 years old, respectively, when they were wrongly accused of a murder in the Calliope housing project. They were wrongly convicted in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. District Attorney Williams and IPNO’s efforts led to their exoneration and release in 2003 after 27½ years in prison. Since that initial case, District Attorney Williams has remained closely involved with IPNO’s work, volunteering his time as a lawyer and serving on its board of directors for ten years. He continues as an emeritus member of IPNO’s board and a dedicated supporter. District Attorney Williams also served on the Louisiana State Indigent Defender Board’s Director Selection Committee and worked as an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School.


In 2008, at the age of 35, District Attorney Williams ran for Orleans Parish District Attorney. He was the youngest candidate, and unlike the other contenders, he had never worked for New Orleans’ longtime District Attorney, Harry Connick. District Attorney Williams knew that New Orleans needed a break from the oppressive practices of a bygone era. Despite being a political newcomer, his popularity quickly grew in communities tired of the same-old criminal justice system that was failing a city still recovering from the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Katrina. District Attorney Williams was a popular candidate in the small-but-growing progressive circles in the city, but he lacked the fundraising capabilities of the other two candidates, Ralph Capitelli and Leon Cannizzaro. New Orleans was not ready for District Attorney Williams’s progressive ‘smart on crime’ platform and voted for Leon Cannizzaro and his ‘tough on crime’ agenda. However, District Attorney Williams’s 2008 run for District Attorney was not for political gain; it was because for 15 years, he had sincerely believed that we needed to transform New Orleans’ criminal legal system into an instrument of progress, not an instrument of oppression. So, he refocused on representing and advocating for people from our city’s marginalized communities, doubled down on his pro bono work with Innocence Project New Orleans, and considered where he could best help remake the dysfunctional systems he saw. District Attorney Williams was privileged to be in the inaugural class of the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute, where fellows are immersed in principles of radical leadership and substantive public service from nationally-renowned coaches and professors. District Attorney Williams carries one of its key lessons with him every day: striving to be an adaptive leader, open to discovering new strategies and policies transparently that can yield better results rather than being tied to past practices out of habit or for the sake of tradition.


In 2014, he recognized an opportunity to start reshaping government to better serve the people of New Orleans, prompting him to run for City Council. Despite being a political novice, his substantive and progressive agenda resonated with voters, leading to his election by a two-to-one margin. In 2017, he secured a second term with an overwhelming victory, defeating four challengers without a runoff. Over his six years on the City Council, during four of which he served as its president, District Attorney Williams applied the teachings of Marty Linsky from the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute. He initiated the creation of public-facing dashboards offering real-time data and information to the people of New Orleans on neighborhood crime, jail population, money bail, and traffic camera tickets.

In his first term, District Attorney Williams played a crucial role in securing the initial funding for early childhood education, making New Orleans the first municipality in the country to make significant front-end investments in its youth. He also took a stand against President Trump’s controversial immigration policies, declaring that no New Orleans agency or officer would participate in any ICE raids or initiatives. Collaborating with fellow council members, District Attorney Williams worked towards municipal bail reform and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Beyond his professional commitments, District Attorney Williams is a proud and devoted father to three children: 2-year-old Xavier, 14-year-old Graham, and 20-year-old Zoe. He resides in uptown New Orleans with his wife, Dr. Liz Marcell Williams, founder and CEO of the Center for Resilience, his two young sons, and a very laid-back pit bull named Ignatius.


Jason Williams was elected as the Orleans Parish District Attorney in 2021, running on a platform to increase safety, deliver justice, and create a criminal legal system that serves all people. His priorities include building the best prosecutorial and support staff in the country to serve the people of New Orleans, correcting the sins of the past, disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, and creating a laser focus on the prosecution of violent crimes, domestic violence, unsolved murders, and sexual assault cases.