Lafayette resident for 33 years and raised in New Orleans, Judge Edwards received his undergraduate and law degrees from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1981 and 1984, respectively. He earned a Master of Public Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1994, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in 2005. Judge Edwards enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1977 and served in the Louisiana National Guard until 2007. He served in the Infantry, Artillery, and Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He also served as the 256th Infantry Brigade’s Inspector General and the State Judge Advocate. In 2007, he retired as Colonel of the Louisiana National Guard and was recognized as the best Staff Judge Advocate in the United States.
Judge Edwards took office on January 1, 1993, served as Chief Judge of the 15th Judicial District Court from 2001until 2003, and has been a pioneer of drug courts and re-entry courts. Prior to serving on the court, he served as an Indigent Defender Attorney, an Assistant District Attorney, Counsel to the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Crime and Drugs, and a partner in Edwards and Edwards Law Offices. He was inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame in 2013. Judge Edwards is also a former Chairman of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, serving from 2013 to 2017. He also served as Vice Chair of the Commission from December 5, 2014 until April 2, 2015 and as chair of the Commission from August 21, 2015 until August 27, 2016, during which time he oversaw a major overhaul of the rules governing the procedures of the Commission.
Judge Edwards is a Past-President of the Louisiana District Judges Association. From 2011 to 2018, he worked with the Louisiana Sentencing Commission (LSA-R.S. 15:322) to assist the judiciary and the legislature in formulating and implementing a uniform sentencing policy. He is currently a member of the Advisory Council on Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education which was created by Act 88 of the 2017 Regular Session of the Legislature and he is a member of the Louisiana Drug Policy Board which was created by LSA-R.S. 49:219.2.
Judge Edwards constantly seeks out opportunities to motivate people. The Judge had pledged to be “Firm yet Fair.” His message to everyone is “Dare to Dream.”