Babin ready to fill void in 23rd District DA office

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008


News Editor

VACHERIE—Ricky Babin, District Attorney-Elect for the 23rd Judicial District, did not have to wait long after the Oct. 4 primary to discover he would be filling the spot left vacant by long-time DA Anthony Falterman.

One week after the election, the other top runner in the primary, Louis Lambert, dropped out of the race, saying he did so for the good of the people.

This has allowed Babin, who has served as first assistant district attorney for the past six years, to focus his time and energy into the measures he will take when he assumes office on January 12.

One of the areas Babin will focus on is decreasing the workload on the prosecutors within the 23rd Judicial District, which encompasses St. James, Ascension and Assumption Parishes.

“The district has gotten to be so huge,” he noted.

The district prosecutes about 27,000 cases annually, about 3,500 of which are felonies.

To combat this overwhelming workload, Babin plans to double the number of assistants in each division so the office can have several cases ready to go at once.

He also plans to employ special prosecutors who have extra experience with particular kinds of crimes. This is especially important concerning sex crimes, which often involve younger and inexperienced witnesses who require more intensive training. Babin started his career as a sex crimes prosecutor.

Babin is quick to point out, however, that by far the biggest problem the district faces is drug-related crimes. These crimes range from possession and distribution of illegal substances to thefts and violent crimes related to the lifestyles of users and dealers. These crimes account for a large portion of both the cost and volume of cases within the district.

Babin is currently working on putting together a transition team and trying to get all the people he wants around him in the proper place. This will not involve a huge turnover, however.

Speaking of the employees of the 23rd Judicial District, he said, “We have some of the most experienced lawyers in the state.”

This has made his job of transitioning to the top spot rather easy. He noted that most of the supporting cast will remain in place, though their roles may be altered somewhat.

The reason for this ease of transition is that the district seems to enjoy a rather high retention rate.

“I think people enjoy it,” he said. “You get to right a few wrongs every now and then.”

And he ought to know. Babin has been with the DA’s office for 14 years, and he served as a criminal defense attorney for two years before that.

When not hunting criminals, the LSU graduate enjoys hunting ducks. He also strongly supports youth charities and is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.

“I look forward to serving,” he added with the confidence that only years of solid experience could bring.