Elected as Louisiana’s 43rd Attorney General in 2007 and then re-elected in 2011 without opposition, James D. “Buddy” Caldwell has worked hard to guard children from Internet predators, protect consumers and senior citizens from scams, and guarantee that criminals are brought to justice.
As the state’s chief legal officer, Buddy is committed to the people of Louisiana and is especially proud of the robust accomplishments of his office. He has a proven record of fighting public corruption, solving thousands of computer crimes, creating a fugitive apprehension unit that has captured hundreds of fugitives, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of Medicaid fraud investigations and prosecutions, and taking on pharmaceutical companies that try to defraud our state and its citizens. Buddy believes in sending powerful messages to those who try to defraud the system, obtaining a jury verdict of more than $257 million against a major pharmaceutical company for violating state laws.
To further ensure the protection of the public, Buddy continues to monitor various industries for inappropriate and illegal activity. He filed suit on behalf of the state against defendants who manufactured, distributed, and sold toxic drywall in Louisiana during the rebuilding efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Since then, a partial settlement, calling for a pilot remediation program for 300 homes, has been reached.
Understanding that Louisiana’s coast is extremely sacred and precious, Buddy remains at the forefront on issues related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, fighting to protect the state’s ecological and economic recovery.
Since taking office in 2008, Buddy has established the Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit—a program created to assist local law enforcement agencies in locating and apprehending fugitives. More than 700 fugitives have been captured as a result of Buddy’s initiative. He has also earned a solid reputation for vigorously monitoring, arresting, and prosecuting online child predators. The Attorney General’s High Technology Crime Unit has investigated thousands of computer crimes such as child pornography, identity theft, Internet fraud, and cyber-stalking.
With deep roots in northeast Louisiana, Buddy was born on May 20, 1946, the fourth of seven children, in Columbia located in Caldwell Parish. The family moved to Madison Parish in 1949, where Buddy later attended Tallulah High School, graduating with honors and lettering in basketball, football, and track. He also played semi-professional baseball in north Louisiana.
Buddy went on to participate in college sports, playing football and running track while earning his bachelor’s degree at Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1973, he received a law degree from Tulane Law School.
Prior to his election as Attorney General, Buddy served as district attorney for 29 years representing the 6th Judicial District, which includes the parishes of East Carroll, Madison and Tensas. As district attorney, he personally tried most major felony cases and achieved a 99% conviction rate in his three-parish area. Buddy helped establish pre-trial diversion programs for adult and juvenile first-time offenders and increased funding for the indigent defenders program in the 6th Judicial District.
Having a great appreciation for the arts, Buddy is an accomplished singer and published songwriter. His father, J.D. Caldwell–who held an LSU master’s degree in music–was an opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera of New York. He eventually returned to Tallulah to become a farmer and clothing merchant.
Buddy and his wife, Pat, have seven children and six grandchildren.