Daniel “Danny” Landry, candidate for District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District Court (covering Lafayette, Acadia, and Vermilion parishes), joined Discover Lafayette to discuss the upcoming election on November 3, 2020, and the reasons he has always wanted to serve the public as their District Attorney.
A lifelong Lafayette resident, Landry is a graduate of Lafayette High, LSU, and LSU Law School, and has worked for the DA’s office since 1984 where he served as Felony Assistant DA in the 15th JDC for over 35 years.
In his early days with the office, DA Nathan Stansbury took him under his wing, mentored him, and demonstrated the leadership qualities that have shaped Landry’s career and molded his work ethic with a focus on public service.
Landry currently serves as First Assistant DA under the current District Attorney, Keith Stutes, who is not running for re-election. His job duties include supervising budget and management operations of the DA’s office, and prosecution of major cases. The office has close to 100 employees and works to administer and prosecute misdemeanors and felony offenses, which are “Title 14” crimes under the criminal code. Funded through 14 different sources of revenue, Landry believes that public safety issues should be a top priority. “If you have good public safety in a community, people want to come in, locate their businesses and homes there. Arts and culture can thrive.”
Landry is particularly proud of the case management system he implemented which “brought the DA’s office into the 21st Century.” With 26 law enforcement agencies throughout Lafayette, Acadia, and Vermilion parishes reporting to the DA’s office, under the pre-existing paper-based filing system it was possible for arrest documents to be “lost” or fall through the cracks. Utilizing the new electronic tracking system for the past four years, the DA is now better able to meet the mandated 30-day review of charges, keep track of the average prison sentences meted out for crimes by judges, respond to calls from the public, and keep the entire justice system accountable to the public.
Danny Landry with his wife, Nancy, and their children Morgan, Kelly and Chris.
Landry also serves as the Pretrial Intervention Director which is designed to assist first-time offenders to examine the underlying reasons for their criminal behavior, such as socioeconomic circumstances, mental health issues, or lacking access to needed resources. He explained that many overlapping issues can lead to survival reactions such as a young woman in poverty stealing diapers for her newborn or a boy stealing bread and lunch meat because no one is taking care of him at home. These non-violent offenders don’t need to be incarcerated but they do need direction and guidance counseling to get their lives on a better course to keep them from returning to the justice system.
Known for his work on major felony cases that garnered national interest, Landry reminisced about the Mickey Shunick murder investigation that “out of all the investigations and prosecutions, was one of the best executed I’ve ever been involved with.” Thousands of tips were gathered and the team of Stutes, Landry, Alan Haney, and Roger Hamilton coordinated with many law enforcement agencies that led them to forensic evidence pointing to Brandon Lavergne, who they determined had also killed another person. Mickey Shunick’s remains were unearthed in Evangeline Parish behind a pauper’s graveyard. “If you had to write a book about how to prosecute, this was the case. Mickey was finally returned to her family.”
Danny Landry, along with DA Keith Stutes, as they interview on NBC Dateline discussing the prosecution of Brandon Lavergne in the Mickey Shunick murder case. “If you had to write a book about how to prosecute, this was the case. Mickey was finally returned to her family.”
Landry is proud to work with the capable law enforcement agencies in our area. As an example, he spoke of the Grand Theatre shooting with the strong camaraderie among all agencies as they worked on the crime. In a similar vein, the Shunick case would never have been solved without the work of dedicated officials from all of the surrounding parishes who work for the common good.
Mental Health is a primary focus of Landry as many police-involved shootings involve people who are mentally ill. Funding, however, is always an issue as his office scrambles to find the money to implement much-needed programs. The office is short-staffed as positions aren’t being replaced as employees retire, yet he states, “We’ll have to learn to do more with less….I’m confident people will step up.”
Landry has many interests outside of the law, including a passion for hunting and professional photography. In the past, he enjoyed playing tennis competitively as a student and biking long distances. His exquisite photography may be viewed at https://www.daniellandryphotography.com/
To learn more about Danny Landry, please visit https://daniellandry.com/