The top priority of this District Attorney’s Office is to increase safety in New Orleans for our families. The people of this city can rest assured that the DA’s Office is doing everything possible to ensure that our neighborhoods are safer and that our streets are rid of those looking to cause harm.
Since Day 1, we have been laser-focused on the prosecution of violent crimes like murders, robberies, rapes, and domestic violence; prioritizing the acceptance of felony cases that cause the greatest injury and others that involve victims and survivors. We purposefully convene the New Orleans Grand Jury each week to secure indictments against the most serious offenders. In partnership with the New Orleans Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, we launched our Serial Crimes Initiative to create a concerted effort to target and get ahead of repeat violent crime in our city. And in August 2021, we launched a Cold Case Unit that is purposed around getting murderers off the streets and bringing healing to families by revisiting past data and information and putting fresh eyes on evidence originally found to be part of these cases.
Essential to our mission of increasing safety is having the personnel necessary to do so. We are proud to have raised pay and provided enhanced training for our prosecutors in order to recruit and retain talented attorneys, and to have doubled the number of Victim/Witness Advocates since DA Williams’ inauguration on January 11, 2021.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the criminal legal system. With jury trials halted since March 2020, there was a significant backlog of cases awaiting us when we took office. Since then, however, we have aggressively and strategically addressed this backlog by appropriately diverting cases, securing guilty pleas outside of court, dismissing our minor cases, and relentlessly preparing our major cases for trial to ensure that we were ready when courts resumed normal operations.