Julia Guilbeau and Harley Sagrera
Feature photo: Daniel “Danny” Landry III (left) and Donald “Don” Landry. Photos provided by Daniel “Danny” Landry III and Donald “Don” Landry respectively.
Acadiana voters may do a double take while glancing at their ballot next week. No your eyesight is not failing you, there are two Landys running for District Attorney, and no, they are not related.
Differing only slightly in first name, “Danny” and “Don” Landry are the two candidates seeking election for the 15th Judicial District Attorney. The position, previously held by Judge Keith Stutes, will represent the interests of Acadia, Vermilion, and Lafayette parishes, all included in the district.
In addition to their similar names, both candidates have similar experience, having both previously been assistant district attorneys. Both are running as Republicans as well.
Both Landrys said they also hope to use their position to divert juveniles from crime, hoping to work with local agencies to accomplish this.
Yet even through their similarities, the candidates have different reasons for why they are best for the position.
Daniel “Danny” Landry III
Daniel “Danny” Landry III, 64, said as district attorney he would continue the work of the current office and keep the community at the forefront.
After growing up in Lafayette, Danny Landry studied at Louisiana State University and later graduated from Louisiana State University’s law school in 1981.
For the last 36 years, Danny Landry has worked as a felony prosecutor for the district, under both previous district attorneys Nathan Stansbury and Mike Harson. He was later appointed as assistant district attorney under Stutes.
In his time serving at the district attorney’s office, Danny Landry said he handled major prosecution cases, serving on the prosecution team in the cases involving the deaths of Mickey Shunick and Corporal Michael Middlebrook. He said he is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, a qualification only few in the office have.
If elected, Danny Landry said he hopes to continue and complete the projects already started in the office by himself and Stutes. His goal is to fully utilize the new case management system developed to disseminate information more easily to judges and the public, according to Danny Landry.
Programs and education for juveniles are also something Danny Landry said he hopes to continue and expand through the juvenile pretrial program implemented in Acadia parish.
Danny Landry said he wants to create a task force to work with local law enforcement, community leaders, and even school officials to help identify problem issues and problem juveniles, to hopefully intervene early to keep individuals out of the criminal justice system.
“Community policing is a huge thing, particularly in today’s environment. You know if you get to where you know the community and they know you, it just works so much better,” Danny Landry said.
Danny Landry said what makes him the most qualified is his past experience and his passion for the position.
“I think I’m uniquely qualified because it’s a passion, and it’s a calling. It’s not a retirement program for me. I’ve had no break of service,” Danny Landry said. “And so, I’m ready to step in the day I take the oath of office. I’m not going to need any on the job training.”
Donald “Don” Landry
Donald “Don” Landry, 73, said if he is elected for district attorney he would aim to not only prosecute cases but also help people get on the right path.
As Lafayette Parish native, Don Landry studied at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now ULL, and graduated from Southern University Law School in 1976.
In 1980, Don Landry became the assistant district attorney under Nathan Stansbury and continued in the position for 34 years also working under Mike Harson.
If elected, Don Landry said he would first focus on relieving the clogged dockets in Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes. There is a serious concern about a backlog of serious felony cases in each parish, according to Don Landry.
“In Acadia Parish, there are about 35-36 pending murder or attempted murder cases. And out of all of those cases, some of them have been pending since 2014. In six years, only one of those serious cases have been tried,” Don Landry said.
One of his priorities in office would be to partner with local law enforcement and public officials to develop a program to keep young people away from crime, according to Don Landry.
He said he plans to send his assistant district attorneys into schools to inform children about what could happen to people who are involved in crime. He said teaching children about the effects crime could have on their lives could be one way to help with crime prevention.
According to Don Landry, for the past six years, there has been a lack of accessibility to the district attorney’s office. He said he would make sure that his office is accessible to the public, and he pledges to work with public officials and citizens because they know what is going on in the community.
“The people put us in office. They have certain requirements and they have certain concerns. I think we should always address those concerns” Don Landry said.