Morel will retire after 33 years as DA

St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel Jr. will retire from office on May 31 of next year after almost 33 years of service.

Morel was first elected district attorney in 1978 and was re-elected five times. He was last elected in 2008 and his term was originally scheduled to end in January 2015.

Morel said he decided to announce his retirement  now because he expects his daughter, Luling lawyer Michelle Morel, to run for a seat on the 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville.

Though the terms of the current district judges do not expire until 2014, Judge Robert Chaisson, who currently serves on the 29th Judicial District Court, announced in July that he is seeking a higher seat on the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

A seat on that court became open when Luling’s Edward A. Dufresne Jr., who was chief judge, died last year.

If Chaisson wins in the Oct. 22 election, a special election would take place to fill his seat on the district court.

“I intend to actively campaign for my daughter in her judicial race and I do not want my continuing service as district attorney, were she to be elected judge, to become an issue in her campaign,” Morel said.

After more than three decades of service, Morel feels that he has accomplished his goals and objectives and said he has strived to make the St. Charles Parish district attorney’s office an institution in which everyone can have confidence and respect.

“My objective as district attorney was to make our office the best in the state of Louisiana,” he said. “With the help of our judges, Sheriff’s Office, parish president, Parish Council and Police Jury, we have been able to maintain its excellence.”

Morel has tendered his prospective resignation to Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, to be effective on May 31, 2012. Gov. Bobby Jindal has called a special election for March 24 to elect a new district attorney in St. Charles.

“I will continue to dedicate my time and efforts to the district attorney’s office on behalf of the people of St. Charles Parish through the date of my retirement,” Morel said. “I will have nothing but fond memories of my time as district attorney and of the people that I have had the opportunity to serve for all these years.”

Morel added that he looks forward to being able to spend more time with his wife, Gwen, his daughters and their families.


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