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DA Don Landry says juvenile violent crime offenders will be tried as adults

Don Landry DA
Posted at 3:03 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 17:48:37-05

15th Judicial District Court District Attorney Don Landry held a press conference on Thursday to discuss juvenile violent crime.

Landry addressed juvenile violent crimes in Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion. Landry tells KATC that his focus will be that juveniles will no longer to be permitted to commit violent crimes and stay in the juvenile justice system.

"They will be prosecuted as adults," he said in a preview on Wednesday.

The violent juvenile crime initiative Landry unveiled on Thursday was created after a rise in violent crimes. Landry provided the following crime stats for July 2020:

First and Second Degree murders in the 15th JDC
Juveniles age 17—4 crimes
Juveniles age 16 — 4 crimes
Juveniles age 15—1 crime
Juveniles age 14—0 crime

"The juveniles in our community believe that they can make violent crimes a common occurrence," he said. "The prosecutors are going to give communities safety and security by prosecuting juvenile violent offenders as adults."

Since July 2020, the DA's Office provided the following numbers for other crimes

Attempted 1st and 2nd Degree murder
Lafayette —26
Acadia — 19
Vermilion — 3

Acadia — 5
Vermilion —2

Aggravated Assault
Lafayette —13
Acadia — 17
Vermilion —1

Aggravated Battery
Acadia —17

Armed Robbery
Lafayette —9
Acadia —0
Vermilion —0

Simple burglary
Lafayette —149
Acadia — 84
Vermilion — 26

Landry says the DA's Office has the authority to prosecute juveniles as adults in the above cases. When the DA elects to indict juveniles in these crimes, Landry says, a message goes out to the juveniles parents. The juveniles then go to adult justice system.

Landry's office will aggressively prosecute crimes in the 15th JDC and will aggressively prosecute juveniles if they choose to commit violent crimes

The office will revisit next January to see how the initiative have worked.

During the press conference Landry stated that they will also work within the community to try to deter violent crimes before they happen. There initiative will begin with reaching out to parish schools systems to speak with students.

"We will ask and reach out to community leaders and ask for help in preventing violent. We would like to not have to prosecute people," Landry said. "We will reach out to the school boards and hope to be permitted to speak to their students."

They will also reach out to other motivational speakers to let students know there are consequences to these types of crimes and how much it hurts families and communities.

The purpose, they say, is to deter juveniles from committing violent crimes

"My message today, juveniles and guns do not go together and they will not be tolerated in this community. If they carry guns and commit crimes, they are telling us they wish to be prosecuted as adults," Landry reiterated.

Landry says that at age 15, the DA will have the discretion to take the case to the grand jury and try to get an indictment. He says that judges still have a say but not on the charge.

14-year-olds still go before a judge. To move a 14-year old to a grand jury, Landry's office says there has to be a motion to do so.

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