Caddo DA Dale Cox answers national criticism on death penalty record

Published: Jul. 8, 2015 at 10:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 at 9:33 PM CDT
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CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Caddo Parish District Attorney Dale Cox is speaking out about the not so flattering national attention he's getting regarding his death penalty track record.

"I think what's lost in this whole discussion, is that it's the law," said Cox.

He finds himself on the national stage, defending his stance on the death penalty. This follows the ruling by the United States Supreme Court upholding the way it's carried out, and the heated national debate.

"Well the death penalty is one of those issues that generates a lot of hard emotions," said Cox.

A New York Times article published Wednesday shows Cox in a not so flattering light. The picture on the article features a straight faced Cox with lots of shadows. Cox described it as macabre, but refused to blame anyone for that. Although he gives the editors of the article the benefit of the doubt for the picture of him, he does not do that for the content of the article, which starts by calling him a "blunt spokesman for death penalty."

"Well I don't think I'm a spokesman for the death penalty, I'm just one prosecutor which is an advocate for it," said Cox.

However, one family sees him in a different light.
“He basically wasn't just there for the case, he was there for the family,” said Charmaine Dusesoi. 
Cox was the prosecutor in the case involving Dusesoi's nephew 1-year-old Roderius Lott. Lott was found unresponsive in a home and Rodricus Crawford, the father of the child, received the death penalty for the crime.
 The family says during their darkest hours as a family, Cox fought for justice on their behalf.
“He came to the house several times, he was there to help us through everything,” said Dusesoi.
The family of the 1-year-old feels that Cox fought for the sentence that fit the crime.
“He made us feel comfortable with everything he did,” said Dusesoi.

According to the article, statistics show Caddo Parish is responsible for almost half of all death sentences in Louisiana over the last five years, and that in the same span of time, Cox is responsible for one third.

"I didn't know that. I don't really keep up with stats like that. So I'm just taking their numbers at face value," said Cox.

A former Caddo Parish prosecutor interviewed for the New York Times article was quoted as saying, "The behavior in and of itself might not be a big deal, but given the fact that the defendants in most of these capital cases are poor and black in a part of the state with a deep history of racism. He's got a loaded gun and he's pointing it at a lot of people."

When asked what he took that to mean, Cox replied, "Nonsense."

He added "I do resent the analogy to racism because what is lost in this debate is that 90 percent of these victims are African American. I don't look at it as prosecuting African Americans, but I look at it as representing African American victims. And those are stats that nobody disputes."

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