District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington was elected to serve as president of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association at the group’s 45th Annual Conference held last week. Harrington, who has served on the board of the association since 2019, will assume the new role on Aug. 1.
“It is a great honor and privilege to serve as president of the LDAA to continue our mission to improve Louisiana’s justice system through the professional, independent, and unbiased prosecution of our laws by the offices of the district attorneys. The pursuit of effective and fair justice is the foundation of our society and it is imperative for us to stand for these values,” said Harrington.
At the conference, district attorneys and staff participated in continued legal education classes and other training programs that focused on juvenile justice, traffic safety, domestic violence, and illegal narcotics. Regarding juvenile justice, prosecutors discussed a “comprehensive assessment of considerations such as the severity of the offense, the age and maturity of the juvenile, their prior record, risk to public safety, rehabilitative potential, and the availability of appropriate services, with the aim of determining the most suitable course of action within the juvenile justice system.”
“The goal is to reach a juvenile early to correct delinquent acts before they rise to more serious criminal behavior. However, there are some cases in which a juvenile has committed acts of violence, and therefore we must consider and weigh impact of crimes on victims and our community when prosecuting these cases,” said Harrington.
- The district attorneys also discussed traffic safety and DWI investigations, including field sobriety tests, breathalyzer or blood tests, and gathering evidence to determine the level of impairment of a driver in an motor vehicle crash. The goal of DWI investigations is to ensure public safety by holding accountable those who choose to drive while impaired.
The LDAA mission statement is to “improve Louisiana’s justice system and the office of District Attorney by enhancing the effectiveness and professionalism of Louisiana’s District Attorneys and their staffs through education, legislative involvement, liaison, and information sharing.” The LDAA supports district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, investigators and staff in providing continuing training, education, and community outreach. The association also focuses on public safety, crime victims’ assistance, promoting highway safety, child support enforcement, pre-trial diversion, domestic violence prevention, and juvenile justice initiatives.