Jason Brown was a ‘lock ‘em up tight and throw away the key’ type. One of the most disliked prosecutors in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, history, he was a hard-charging and inflexibly tough prosecutor who pushed for maximum punishments. Several of them were recounted by investigative journalist Jon Campbell in The Appeal.
Back in 2015, Brown left his Assistant District Attorney (“ADA”) job with 11 other DAs immediately after retired Court of Appeal Judge James Stewart became the parish’s first Black District Attorney (“DA”). Brown was fired.
In March 2020, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office fired Brown as a prosecutor for his handling of a continuance motion in the Joey Julian murder trial. In addition, the defense in that case accused him of withholding “a mountain” of exculpatory evidence.
In Caddo, Brown worked with death penalty champion Dale Cox, who appeared on 60 Minutes, saying the state should use capital punishment more often.
Among Brown’s many victories was winning a guilty verdict with a life without parole prison sentence for Fate Winslow. A homeless man, Winslow sold a $20 baggie of marijuana to an undercover cop.
Brown secured a life sentence for Larry John Thompson over “five individually packaged rocks of cocaine” on a possession with intent to distribute rap. Brown prosecuted James Cass for possessing with intent to distribute 1.5 ounces of marijuana. The sentence: 40 years.
Former Caddo Parish Public Defender Ernest Gilliam, III, had Brown’s number saved in his phone as simply “The Devil.”
“There’s never been anyone quite like Jason Brown,” stated Gilliam.
Brown was also part of a joint police-prosecutor squad called the Zombie Response Team. The squad did “search and arrest operations,” sporting custom-embroidered patches and customized vehicle license plates. They disbanded in July 2012 after a state investigation found two of the squad’s ADAs had submitted falsified documents to a military-surplus weapons procurement program.
In 2013, Brown prosecuted a case where a cop forged another cop’s signature to a false DNA report. The objective was to use the report to convince the suspect to confess to a murder. Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this matter in its November 30, 2016, opinion, holding it harmless because it was never entered into evidence at trial.
The Appeal found that Brown associate Rick Raster testified that the former prosecutor owns an art studio in downtown Shreveport. The building was erected in the 1930s and still sports Jim Crow-era signage over restroom doors, labeling them for use by “colored” and “whites only.”
Brown told The Appeal that the signs, revealed during renovations, have been covered up.
But Joey Julian’s lawyer Clemons sees this as speaking to Brown’s character. It’s yet another example, he told The Appeal, why Brown shouldn’t be “adjudicating someone’s justice—or lack of justice—in the courtroom.”
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