POSITION: Director of the Gaming Division for the Louisiana Department of Justice
Clifford “Cliff” Strider, a career prosecutor, was recently named director of the Gaming Division for the Louisiana Department of Justice. He replaces James Smith, who is retiring. Strider previously served as chief criminal prosecutor in the state attorney general’s Monroe satellite office. A 1979 graduate of the LSU Law Center, Strider has served as the first assistant district attorney in Alexandria and Ruston and started his career as a prosecutor in New Orleans, his hometown.
How did you become interested in criminal law?
I have a very good friend of mine who was the victim of a crime. I was working at the phone company at the time, in the engineering department. I thought it was kind of cool and became sort of a dream to be a lawyer. I decided I wanted to be a prosecutor, so I went to law school. In 1982, my brother was murdered. I was a prosecutor at the time. That’s when I made the decision to be a career prosecutor.
What is the difference between working in a District Attorney’s Office and working at the Attorney General’s Office?
The primary difference is that in a DA’s Office you have a constant influx of cases you deal with, an extremely high volume of cases. You’re in court all the time. Whereas, at the Attorney General’s Office, certainly we have a full workload, but it’s a more measured load. At the DA’s Office, I could walk across the hall — literally, my office was across the door from the courthouse. When I handle my cases here, I may have to drive two or three hours in order to even get to court.
How did you get the job as head of the gambling division?
(Attorney General Buddy) Caldwell called me and asked me if I’d be interested in becoming the director of the Gaming Division. I’ve known him for a long time. Both of us were very active in the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, so we got to know each other then. I was working for him in the criminal division a long way away, but we still were in constant contact.
What are the duties of the gambling division?
The division basically represents the State Police and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. We handle questions about licensing, people who violate their licenses in some way. We also handle the state’s portion, along with the Governor’s Office, of the Indian Gaming Compact. We work in video poker, and we handle licensing and legal matters with the lottery commission. Basically, our job is to assist and ensure integrity in the gaming industry.
Advocate staff writer