James T. Dixon, Jr. State Public Defender, Louisiana Public Defender Board
James 'Jay' Dixon is the State Public Defender and member of the Louisiana Public Defender Board. Dixon was born at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY into an army family. He moved throughout his childhood and graduated from high school in Madrid, Spain. After graduating from Bucknell University, he enrolled at Loyola Law School in New Orleans to pursue a law degree. Since graduating, his legal experience has been diverse. Mr. Dixon served as a law clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court for former Justice Pike Hall. He had a private practice in New Orleans, while serving with the Jefferson Parish Public Defender's Office as contract counsel and later joined the St. John Parish Public Defender Office as a full-time line defender. He then served as the Attorney General for the Republic of Palau, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean. Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Dixon was the Judicial Administrator for the 12th Circuit Court for the State of Virginia. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he and his wife felt compelled to return to Louisiana.He accepted a position as a contract defender for the Lafayette Parish Public Defender Office. He was later selected and accepted the position of District Defender for the Parishes of Calcasieu and Cameron where he has served from January 2011 through November 2013. He is married and has two beautiful children.
Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.
Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?
Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.
Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.