SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - When James Stewart was elected four years ago, one of his promises was to be tough on crime.
“We deal with three things, justice, mercy and professional integrity,” says Stewart who adds that is exactly the way he has carried out the office in his four years.
He is facing local attorney Patricia Gilley — also a Democrat — in the November 3 election for Caddo Parish District Attorney.
In response to a KSLA investigation that highlighted a large number of cases dropped or dismissed, many of those felonies, he says he’s never just randomly dismissed cases.
“We look at screening for diversion or whether or not we can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Stewart says the recent spike in violent crime in Shreveport is not a reflection of his office’s hard work and that he and his office have spent countless hours outside the courtroom and in the community working at the root of the problem.
“We are in juvenile court, and working with programs to deal with underlining issues of drugs and mental health,” continues Stewart.
But his opponent, Gilley, says Stewart has been nothing more than a ‘figurehead’.
“He’s never available to the people,” she explains.
She claims as an attorney defending clients in his courts, his office is never available for her or many other attorneys.
“The only thing that happened after he went into office was the big billboards that went up with him on it,” Gilley complains.
“It is impossible for me to connect with the DA office and would never answer phones.”
Gilley says, in her opinion, the court system in Caddo Parish is broken and needs to be fixed.
But Stewart says his experience as an attorney, a judge, and now as the incumbent district attorney, is unmatched in this race.
“Some will tell you what they will do, but they can’t show you what they have done," Stewart responds.