LaPlace attorney sees timing as just right for step up

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – In 36 years of his still short life, Kerry Brown has picked all the right roads in a quietly progressing life as a successful attorney in St. John Parish.

Now he is ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight as he has announced a run for the district attorney’s position in St. John.

With John Crum announcing he will resign the D.A.’s position after 25 years serving St. John, Brown is the first candidate to publicly jump into the race.

Other possible entries in the race are local attorney Fred DeFrancesch, who confirmed to L’Observateur he will be running but is not ready to comment at this time, along with Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Tom Daley, who has not confirmed yet that he will run.

As for Brown, he believes the timing is just right for him to attempt another step up in his career. However he claims that his interest in the position is not to begin a political career for himself, but rather his interest to serve the people of St. John Parish.

“St. John is my home,” he said. “I have a deep commitment to the people of St. John and this is not about politics to me, it’s about safety and getting the best results for the entire St. John community.”

Brown can back up his claim of wanting to serve, noted by spending two years on a mission trip in Ecuador when he was right out of high school, and then as he began his law career in St. John Parish in 2001.

Even though he was building a successful law practice with offices in Iberville and St. John parishes, Brown shut down the Iberville office when he was offered a position as an assistant district attorney here.

“I closed an office that was very successful so I could take the $12,000 a year assistant D.A.’s position,” he said. “So you can see things aren’t all about the money with me.”

It was the work as a prosecutor, along with his own profession where he did defense work, that have primed him for the D.A.’s position, Brown says.

“Since I’ve been on both sides now, I have the experience to understand this job a lot better,” he explained. “I have seen first hand the problems that need to be addressed, and now I have the experience to handle them.”

Brown was walking a fine line when asked what needed improving in the D.A’s office, since he would have to begin criticizing his current boss John Crum.

“I don’t want to comment on what I think may be problems in the system since John is a good friend and he gave me an opportunity there,” he said. “But with me practicing law, I can see problems that need to be addressed.”

Brown did say that the office needed to be upgraded with its technology, since he said the office does not have a computerized system to case manage very well.

And his own experience working in the drug court has given him special interest to become involved with the youth in the area.

“If we don’t get kids reformed the first time they come into court, their behavior will have them right back in there,” he said. “I know plenty of people who have come through there and without getting reformed, you will see them come back.”

Brown said that he will make one big change from the way the former D.A. ran things in that he will handle prosecuting all the major cases.

“I think the people of the parish want to see their D.A. in court, and you will see me on the big, tough cases,” he remarked.

Brown was born in Lutcher, and raised in LaPlace where he graduated from East St. John High School in 1990. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), he served a two-year volunteer mission trip to Ecuador before going to college.

“The two years I spent in Ecuador were awesome,” he said. “When I came back here from a third world country, where there was no transportation or even water in many homes, I got to appreciate the United States a lot more and really took the focus off myself, and began to focus more on serving other people.”

He finished law school at Southern, and got a break in opening one office in Iberville Parish, since an attorney he had been working for was going to close the office. Instead, Brown got to keep the office for himself with the former attorney’s name still out front.

“It helped me begin to build clients,” he said.

Operating a law office in St. John as well, Brown made it through the tough early years with what he called “accessibility” to his clients.

“I did whatever it took to meet my goals,” he said.

At times he “made less than a McDonald’s manager,” but he had two offices operating with his name on them, eventually establishing himself and growing until he added the St. John ADA position to his resume. He recently constructed one of the new office buildings on Belle Terre Boulevard, which now houses his own office.

Now setting his sights on the district attorney’s position in St. John, Brown is confident, even in facing what most observers call the favored opponent in Daley.

“I am the best person for the D.A.’s office,” he stated flatly. “I want to serve the public and make sure that all crime is prosecuted fairly. I will manage the best team of lawyers to keep our streets safe, and I will make sure that the district attorney’s office is accessible to the public.”

Brown said he plans to put special emphasis on providing safety to the elderly in the community, while also protecting children from sexual predators.

Brown has been married for 11 years to his wife Staci, and they have three children between the ages of 3 and 9.