Prosecution of Crimes & Representation of the School Board & Police Jury
The most important duty of the District Attorney is to oversee the prosecution of criminals in Avoyelles Parish. This is in all courts and involves convening the Grand Jury for the purposes of deciding which crimes to prosecute. In addition, the District Attorney has wide latitude in his discretion as to which crime to charge individuals that do not go before the Grand Jury.
The prosecuting Assistant District Attorneys are:
· Anthony F. Salario, 1st Assistant District Attorney – Division B Chief.
· Jonathan T. Gaspard, Assistant District Attorney, Division A Chief.
· Andrea D. Aymond, Assistant District Attorney, Chief Prosecutor of the Special Victims Section.
· Jenny Donaghey Beckham, Assistant District Attorney Section A, and Assistant Prosecutor, Special Victims Section.
· Derek Manuel, Assistant District Attorney Section B
· Emily Edwards Bertholl – Assistant District Attorney, Division A
· Elizabeth Williams – Assistant District Attorney, Juvenile and IVD
· Peter J. Lemoine, Jr. – Assistant District Attorney, Juvenile and IVD, and handles prosecutions in Marksville City Court and Bunkie City Court.
Pre Trial diversion is a method used by many districts for first offenders of non-violent crimes. This is in an effort to divert certain individuals from trials, if they are non-violent offenders and to allow them to undergo necessary and helpful treatment or require attendance of classes to teach them and help prevent them from committing more crimes. No method is foolproof, but a major part of the battle against crime is won if the criminal act is prevented. The District Attorney’s office can utilize its authority
and vision to create efforts to prevent crime.
If anyone is interested in Pre-trial diversion contact Joyce Corner at the District Attorney’s Office.
Requiring individuals to participate in public or community service is another method of handling non-violent offenders. This is an effort to prevent filling our jails with non-violent offenders to allow more room for the more serious violent criminals. This is an important step in the overall management of our criminal justice system.
Police Jury & School Board
In Louisiana, the District Attorney is the legal counsel for the Police Jury and the School Board. These two governing bodies are vital to the progress of a Parish. The Police Jury is the governing body over the Parish operations and economic development. The Avoyelles Parish School Board, with a budget of over $40 million, is in charge of public education in the Parish.
Jonathan T. Gaspard is the Civil Assistant District Attorney assigned to represent the Police Jury. He is present at the regularly scheduled meetings of the Police Jury. Derek Manuel is the Civil Assistant District Attorney assigned to represent the School Board and attends their regularly scheduled meetings.
Hot Check Collections
Many businesses are frustrated with collecting from customers who write hot checks. The District Attorney’s Office has the statutory authority to assist those who receive checks with insufficient funds. This is done without expense to the business. A Hot Check Coordinator will be assigned to work with businesses in an effort to assist them in the collection of these checks. It is important to stop small criminal acts to prevent individuals from going on to bigger crimes. The worthless check coordinator to contact is Christy Brasseaux
Approximately 4000 traffic tickets are issued in Avoyelles Parish each year. Most of them are written by State Police. Those tickets must come through the District Attorney's office for processing.
If an individual pays the ticket, then the only step for the individual is to pay the fine and cost to the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office. The number is 318-253-4000. The average cost of a traffic ticket for speeding in Avoyelles is $175.00 in cost and between $25.00 and $50.00 in fines.
The process by which the money is disbursed is a many step process that is performed by the District Attorney's Office, then sent to the Avoyelles Clerk of Court, then finally the Sheriff's Office again for the disbursement of the funds collected.
Moving violations can cause an increase in insurance rates for violators. The Avoyelles Parish District Attorney's office offers pre-trial diversion for those eligible. The basic qualification is for speeding not more than 15 miles per hour over the limit allows participation. The basic PTI (pre-trial intervention) has a cost of $175.00-$220.00.
If qualified, the driver will be put on informal probation for one year, complete the reading of the safety information provided, pay the fee and the ticket will not appear as a moving violation on their record. There are variations, such as higher fees, or a lesser amount for those who are impoverished.
To participate in our traffic pre-trial diversion anyone may call or write to our office and request that their ticket be diverted. We review each ticket to be sure that there are no factors involved, such as a poor attitude toward the officer or if there is an accident involved.
When calling about diversion, you may ask for Alana or Jeannette.
Child Support Collections
The payment of child support for the care of children is a very important process that must be handled as a top priority. In many cases custodial parents cannot afford attorneys and must resort to other methods. We will not allow those that are responsible for the payment of child support to escape their obligations. The District Attorney’s Office pledges to make child support collection a top priority. The Chief IV-D Assistant District Attorney assists in getting the non-custodial parent on track with missed payments. Jenny Donaghey Beckham is the IV-D Assistant District Attorney who assists in establishing new orders of child support. The in-office staff consists of a IV-D Administrator, Patricia Batiste, who prepares cases for court and judgments after court; an Intake Coordinator, Mallory Bordelon, who assists with out of state cases, creates cases and works intake caseloads; and an Intake Caseworker, Nicole Bordelon, who creates cases and works intake caseloads. Our team is determined to work cases to the best of our abilities with the best interest of the child in mind. Please visit the WWW.DCFS.LA.GOV website for more information about the Louisiana Child Support Program.
What is Expungement? LSA-R.S. 44:9 (G)
“Expungement” means removal of a record from public access but does not mean destruction of the record. An expunged record is confidential, but remains available for use by law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, The Louisiana State Board of Psychologists, the Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, or the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions.
Louisiana laws allow a person to “expunge’ or “clear” his or her record of arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions in certain limited situations. What can or cannot be expunged is set out in various statutes and case law. It is highly advisable for anyone interested in seeking an expungement of a criminal record to consult with an attorney.