Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, L. J. Hymel has resided there his entire life. Graduating from the public school system in 1962, he entered Louisiana State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966 and a Juris Doctorate in 1969 from the LSU Law School. During the fall of that year, he was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association and to the bar of all of the federal district courts in the State of Louisiana, as well as the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
For the next nine years, L. J. worked for the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, having been named Special Counsel to the Louisiana State Mineral Board. As such, he rendered legal advice to the Board and prepared and reviewed oil and gas mineral leases on behalf of the state.
When the Criminal Division of the Attorney General's Office was created in 1971, he was assigned there as an Assistant Attorney General where his duties included the prosecution of criminal cases across the State of Louisiana. One such assignment resulted in his working in the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office for approximately ten months where he prosecuted approximately fifty felony jury cases.
During this same period of time, L. J. maintained a private civil law practice, teaming up with Michael E. Ponder to form the law firm of Hymel & Ponder. Their practice focused on labor law and personal injury.
In 1978, L. J. left the Attorney General's Office and private practice to accept an appointment as an Assistant District Attorney in the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge. He was assigned to the Career Criminal Unit, a two-man unit responsible for prosecuting career criminal offenders.
In the fall of 1979, L. J. successfully campaigned for a seat on the Baton Rouge City Court. He took the oath of office on February 7, 1980. He served there for three years. During his tenure as a City Judge he presided over small claims court, traffic court, DWI court, and criminal misdemeanor court.
In 1983, L. J. was elected to the 19th Judicial District Court where he served until his retirement in 1992. He presided over a section of criminal felony court for approximately seven years. The case load included everything from relative felonies to capital murder cases. During his last two years on the bench, he served in a civil section handling every type of civil proceeding provided by Louisiana law.
After leaving the bench, L. J. became Director of the Criminal Division of the Louisiana Attorney General's Office in 1992. There he supervised numerous prosecutors and investigators in criminal case venues across the State of Louisiana. Included was the Medicaid Fraud Control unit which was recognized as the nation's outstanding unit in 1992.
In 1993, President Clinton nominated L. J. for the position of United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana. Following his confirmation by the United States Senate, he was sworn in on March 15, 1994. For approximately seven years, he oversaw the prosecution of federal crimes in the nine-parish Middle District centered in Baton Rouge. Major case prosecutions occurred in the areas of public corruption, white-collar crime, health care fraud, tax crimes, firearms violations, environmental violations, and drug prosecutions. Under his supervision, Project Exile, a program responsible for prosecuting federal firearms violations throughout the District, was established.
Additionally, the United States Attorney's office was responsible for representing the United States and its various agencies in civil proceedings such as civil tax matters, debt collections, civil rights, social security matters, bankruptcy proceedings and litigation under the Federal Tort Claims Act. One area of interest to L. J. was the prosecution of qui tam civil actions (whistle-blower suits) pursuant to the Federal False Claims Act. Immediately before leaving the United States Attorney's Office, he concluded a qui tam action which resulted in over $30 million dollars being returned to the State of Louisiana and the United States based on fraudulent acts of contractors dealing with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. This was the largest qui tam recovery in the State of Louisiana at the time.
After leaving the United States Attorney's Office, L. J. entered private practice and is now a partner in the Hymel Davis & Petersen law firm where his areas of practice include general criminal defense, white collar criminal defense, personal injury litigation, corporate and business litigation, federal and state grand jury proceedings, and state and federal appeals. Additionally, L. J. represents the State of Louisiana in a multitude of cases pursuant to appointment by the Louisiana Attorney General. Clients include the Department of Transportation and Development, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and state employees, including the state judiciary.
L. J. has been appointed by federal and state judges to serve as special master in class action litigation wherein he was responsible for allocating millions of dollars to class claimants. Additionally, he performs mediation services at the request of local attorneys who are attempting to arrive at fair settlements of their cases.
Finally, L. J. continues to serve in the judicial system as a pro tempore/ad hoc trial judge pursuant to appointment by the Louisiana Supreme Court. These appointments are made when a duly elected judge has a conflict of interest or cannot serve on a particular case or date for reasons that warrant recusal. Also, pursuant to Supreme Court appointment, he serves as Commissioner to take evidence and report to the court as to whether various petitioners for bar admission possess the appropriate character and fitness.
Current Employment Position(s): Emeritus
- Louisiana, 1969
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- Louisiana State University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- J.D. - 1969
- Louisiana State University
- B.S. - 1966
- Major: Geology
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Baton Rouge Bar Association, Member
- Louisiana State Bar Association, Member
Past Employment Positions
- Middle District of Louisiana, U.S. Attorney, 03/1994 to 01/2001
- Louisiana Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General, Criminal Division, Director, 03/1992 to 11/1993
- 19th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, District Court Judge, Civil Court, 1991 to 03/1992
- 19th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, District Court Judge, Criminal Court, 1983 to 1990
- Baton Rouge City Court, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, City Judge, 1980 to 1983
- Office of District Attorney, 19th Judicial District, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, Assistant District Attorney, 1978 to 1978
- Hymel & Ponder, Partner, 1973 to 1977
- Office of Attorney General, State of Louisiana, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, 1972 to 1978
- Louisiana State Mineral Board, Office of Attorney General, State of Louisiana, Staff Attorney, 1969 to 1970