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Baton Rouge district judge found dead in Baker home

District judge dies suddenly in Baker.
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 1:08 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 8:41 PM CST

BAKER, La. (WAFB) - Known for his ability to unify those in his community, the sudden death of 19th Judicial District Judge Christopher R. Dassau took everyone he knew by surprise.

“It’s just a great loss to the city of Baker,” said Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn.

Baker Police Department officers found Judge Christopher Dassau dead inside his home on Sunday, Jan. 16.

Dunn said after several failed attempts to get in touch with their loved one, Dassau’s family asked Baker police to do a welfare check on his home.

“We got here and didn’t get any answers at the door. So, we contacted the fire department and asked them to assist us in gaining entry into the house. And, we found the judge inside unresponsive,” added Dunn.

Police said foul play is not suspected at this time.

His alma mater, Southern University Law School, put out a statement honoring his legacy on Sunday night, Jan. 16, followed by others including the mayors of Baker and East Baton Rouge Parish.

But as a judge for the 19th JDC, Judge Dassau leaves a vacant seat for several important cases, and questions about what will happen to those and who will take his seat remain in the air.

“It won’t be a quick process; it’ll be months and months... I mean who knows,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore said Dassau had already made arrangements to have his seat filled temporarily this week.

“He had already planned to be off this week, and a magistrate judge is taking his place. So, things will run as normally as they can, and I know that the judges at the 19th, as difficult as the situation is, they’re going to probably fill in as they need to,” continued Moore.

Ultimately, the judges will likely consult the state Supreme Court to appoint an ad hoc judge until an election is called. No official date for an election has been determined yet.

Dassau assumed his role in January 2021 after working as a city prosecutor in Baker for nearly a decade.

Following news of his death, Baton Rouge area leaders and his colleagues released statements reflecting on Dassau’s impact and offering their condolences to those closest to him.

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