The new nominee to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana received plaudits Friday from an array of people contacted who have supervised him, opposed him in court or presided over his cases.
The nominee, David C. Joseph, currently handles a variety of cases in the Lafayette-based U.S. Attorney's Office. These include fraud, public corruption and white-collar criminal prosecutions, according to a White House news release on Friday announcing Joseph's nomination.
"He's the type of person who will look at all the facts and circumstances and will end up doing the right thing, for the right reason," said Richard Haik, who served on the Western District bench from 1991 to 2016. "When you are U.S. Attorney you have the whole weight of the U.S. government behind you, and he has never abused that."
Metairie-based defense attorney Eugene Redmann, who helped negotiate a plea deal in a wire fraud case last year, said Joseph was “a straight arrow” in his experience, and that example could bode well for the office Joseph will oversee.
“If you’ve got a guy that’s a straight arrow, his employees will do the same thing. They will know they can’t take their personal views and push some type of agenda,” Redmann said. “I deal with a ton of prosecutors from all different walks. Some guys take it almost personally. This guy is just professional.”
Echoing those sentiments was Wayne Blanchard, an assistant federal public defender who said he frequently opposes Joseph in court.
“You know you’re going to get his ear and you’ll be able to discuss things without the adversary nature getting in the way,” Blanchard said.
Joseph served as a military prosecutor in the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps before joining the U.S. Department of Justice. He earned his law degree from Louisiana State University and clerked for former Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Jeffrey P. Victory and the late Baton Rouge U.S. District Court Judge John V. Parker.
Louisiana's Western District takes in 42 parishes and encompasses most of the northern and western halves of the state, with courthouses in Lafayette, Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria and Lake Charles.
"I had conversations with my (assistant U.S. Attorneys) all the time that their goal every day is to go in there and do justice, that's job one. I had enough conversations with David to know that's his philosophy," said former U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, who said she hired Joseph when he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2014. Finley served under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2017.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Joseph will replace current Interim U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook. He's led the office since former U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, an Obama administration appointee, stepped down in March along with dozens of other holdovers.
In a statement issued by U.S. Attorney's Office, Joseph called the nomination "a great honor."
"While the Senate confirmation process is pending, I remain committed to serving the United States and the people and communities of Louisiana in my current position," Joseph said in the statement.
Van Hook, a career federal prosecutor, had served as Finley's top deputy before her departure.
Advocate staff writer Bryn Stole contributed to this report