Criminal Division

District Attorney Lancaster has four talented prosecutors who handle trials and proceedings for adult offenders in the District. Lancaster himself is also active in the criminal caseload of each parish. In 2013, the district prosecuted 1,212 felonies and 8,795 misdemeanors.

In Franklin Parish, Assistant District Attorney Will R. Barham, the office’s newest prosecutor, handles all felony and misdemeanor charges.  Will began his prosecutorial career in 2013 after several years as a defense attorney.  Assistant District Attorney K. Douglas Wheeler has handled all felonies in Richland Parish since his hiring in 2000, including four capital cases in the last two years alone. Assistant District Attorney Amanda M. Wilkins, among her many functions in the DA’s Office, covers the misdemeanor caseload in Richland Parish.  Assistant District Attorney John Clay Hamilton, hired in 2011, handles felonies and misdemeanors in West Carroll Parish.

The District Attorney’s Office in each parish receives criminal reports of arrest and investigations from law enforcement agencies and decides whether to file formal court charges in the matter. In some instances, particularly when the crime is punishable by life in prison or when more information is required to decide the appropriate charge, the case may be assigned to be heard by a Grand Jury, a body of citizens from the parish who make the decision on whether to indict the offender. Each case formally charged is randomly assigned by the parish Clerk of Court to one of the Fifth Judicial District’s three divisions. Each division of each parish has numerous preset criminal court days for arraignments, hearings, and other pretrial matters. Each of the three divisions also has two terms per year per parish for trials (petit juries) for a total of six trial terms per year per parish. The intent of the system is to move criminal cases through the system to resolution as quickly as possible, at the same time safeguarding the rights of the defendants. Many cases are resolved without trial by agreement between the defendant and the District Attorney’s Office, but only when the interests of the State and identified victims are best served by such an agreement.

Office Locations

  • District Attorney John M. Lancaster
    PO Box 805 • Oak Grove, LA 71263
    318.428.3219 • da@fifthda.org
  • Franklin Parish District Attorney's Office
    6568 Main St, 2nd Flr • Winnsboro, LA 71295
    318.435.3386 • franklin@fifthda.org
    Located in Franklin Parish Courthouse,
    Second Floor
  • Richland Parish District Attorney's Office
    PO Box 417 • Rayville, LA 71269
    318.728.3166 • richland@fifthda.org
    Located in Richland Parish Courthouse,
    Second Floor
  • West Carroll Parish District Attorney's Office
    PO Box 1209 • Oak Grove, LA 71269
    318.428.3213 • westcarroll@fifthda.org
    Located in West Carroll Parish Courthouse,
    Second Floor

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