Rick Bryant announces he’s pulling out of DA’s race

Rick Bryant announces he’s pulling out of DA’s race
Rick Bryant is pulling out of the race for Calcasieu District Attorney. (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Rick Bryant is pulling out of the race for Calcasieu District Attorney.

Bryant made the announcement on his Facebook page Friday afternoon.

Bryant previously served as Calcasieu District Attorney. He was elected in 2001 and remained district attorney until 2005 when he left to run for judge, a position he held until 2008.

Bryant says he will support candidate Stephen Dwight.

Current District Attorney John DeRosier has said he will not seek reelection. Qualifying for the Nov. 3 election will be held July 22 through July 24.

Rick Bryant’s full statement:

After much consultation with my closest friends and supporters, as well as a lot of prayer and soul searching, I have decided not to seek election as District Attorney for Calcasieu Parish. When I announced that I was running for District Attorney earlier this year, it was because I did not like the direction the current District Attorney’s office was headed. I was opposed to gift cards in exchange for community service. I was opposed to having Assistant DAs hired from other jurisdictions and not required to live in our parish. I was opposed to Assistant DAs working in multiple DA’s offices at the same time.

I have spent most of my legal career working in the criminal justice system. First as Chief of Felony Prosecutions for DA Leonard Knapp, then as Chief of Felony Prosecutions and First Assistant DA for DA Richard Ieyoub. Then, I was honored to be elected to 3 terms as District Attorney, and most recently, I served for 6 years as a special prosecutor under the current DA. I am proud of that legacy.

I have prosecuted nearly 200 Felony Jury Trials, losing only once, including 9 capital cases, and many high-profile cases like Ricky Langley, Jason Reeves, KK Korner’s defendant Thomas Cisco, Leslie Dale Martin, Davis and Saltzman, Woodrow Hamilton, Wilbert Rideau, and countless others. I love trial work. I will miss the battles in the courtroom, and the ability to bring some small amount of peace to the families of the victims who suffered so terribly, many of whom I am friends with to this day. I also enjoyed working with other Assistant DAs and countless members of law enforcement whose tireless efforts led to the apprehension of these defendants.

Serving as your District Attorney was the greatest honor of my life, but many people have now expressed that it’s time for a new face, a new direction for the DA’s Office. While my poll numbers are excellent and my supporters are wonderful, I feel that perhaps many in our parish want a new DA. I have done something few candidates do anymore: I have sat down and spent hours speaking with the only other announced candidate for DA, Stephen Dwight. Our discussions were open, honest, and productive. I have known Stephen and his father for many years. He has expressed to me that he too wants restructuring and many changes in the DA’s office. He agrees with many of my concerns, and I truly believe that he wants to build an office that we can all be proud of. For those reasons, I shall be supporting Stephen for District Attorney.

Stephen has asked for my help and counsel if he becomes District Attorney. I have agreed to work with him in some capacity to help transition the office into a great office once again. I have no egotistical need to be DA again, and no financial need. I love that office and my reasons for running and my reason now for supporting Stephen are because I want the office to be great again. The criminal justice system is facing a huge challenge in the future, and COVID-19 has delayed jury trials several months. The massive backlog has overwhelmed the dockets of prosecutors and judges alike, while defendants await their day in court. The U.S. Supreme Court indicated that many convictions in 12-person juries which were not unanimous, also may have to be retried. Convictions in all jury trials will be much more difficult due to the events occurring around the nation.

I want to thank all of the countless men and women who have supported me and remained staunchly loyal to me over the years. I am truly blessed by that support, and I truly love each and every one of you. My biggest disappointment in not running is letting all of you down who have worked so hard for me. When I entered the race, and now that I’m leaving the race my reasons were the same: I wanted to do what was best for Calcasieu Parish, not what was best for Rick Bryant. God Bless and thank you.

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