Seven selected for Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame

The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation will induct seven people, including three from the Baton Rouge area and one from Lafayette, into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame in ceremonies July 12 at the prison museum and in Baton Rouge.

The 2013 honorees include West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes, former judge and U.S. Attorney L.J. Hymel, Baton Rouge lawyer Keith Nordyke and Lafayette Parish Judge Jules Edwards.

The induction events begin with a 1:30 p.m. reception for the honorees and the public at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum at the gates to the prison.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow at 2 p.m. to reveal the exhibit cases that illustrate the lives and accomplishments of the inductees.

A banquet and formal induction program will be held at 5 p.m. at Boudreax’s, 2647 Government St. in Baton Rouge.

Tickets to the banquet are $50 per person and may be purchased by calling the museum at (225) 655-2592 or by visiting the museum’s website, http://www.angolamuseum.org.

The museum foundation also will honor Nadine Tanner, the museum’s first director, and present the Louisiana Re-Entry Service Award to Elain Ellerbe and, posthumously, to her husband, Michael Ellerbe, who died last month.

Cazes began working for the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1974 and took office as sheriff in 2004.

Now in his third term, Cazes developed the largest inmate work-release program in the state and established numerous community-based programs for public safety, the foundation’s citation says. He is a former president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and a member of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Louisiana Sentencing Commission.

Hymel, admitted to the bar in 1969, has served as a 19th Judicial District judge, director of the criminal division of the state Attorney General’s Office and U.S. attorney for the federal Middle District of Louisiana.

He is a private practice attorney and continues service as a pro tempore/ad hoc trial judge and a court commissioner. As U.S. attorney, he oversaw the establishment of Project Exile, a program to prosecute violent criminals for firearms violations and prosecuted “whistle blower” suits to return more than $30 million to the state and federal governments from contractors who committed fraud against the state Department of Transportation and Development, his citation says.

Nordyke has had a long career as class counsel on prison condition litigation and parole and pardon issues, including serving as the attorney for Louisiana inmates in the 1971 prison reform lawsuit that was responsible for numerous improvements to the Louisiana penal system.

He also worked with the U.S. Justice Department and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana on other prison-related litigation.

Edwards, a New Orleans native, serves on the bench of the 15th Judicial District and is a member of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission. He is a pioneer of the drug court movement, his citation says.

He served in the Louisiana Army National Guard in infantry and artillery units and in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he became the top lawyer for the state National Guard.

Also being inducted are:

  • Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, who retired from the State Police in 1984 after serving as a troop commander and head of the agency’s narcotics section. He is an expert in forensic photography, GPS tracking and cell phone investigative techniques.
  • John DeRosier, a U.S. Marine veteran of Vietnam and district attorney in Calcasieu Parish. As a prosecutor, he has pushed for stringent sex-offender registration and reporting requirements and helped craft legislation to protect the mentally ill.
  • Harry Randow, judge of the 9th Judicial District in Rapides Parish for 16 years. He is president of the Louisiana District Judges Association, chairman of the state Supreme Court’s task force on indigent litigants and serves on the Red River Delta Law Enforcement Planning Council.