Pioneering Change in Criminal Justice: Super Lawyers® Recognizes Tony Clayton’s 30-Year Journey

Thirty years ago, a young assistant district attorney named Tony Clayton saw something local police didn’t, leading to a break in a case involving a serial killer who had been preying on women in Louisiana for a decade. This marked the first of hundreds of successful violent crime convictions Tony would help secure—and a pivotal moment in a career that would foster significant change in criminal justice. This was just one of many of Tony’s contributions featured in the 2024 Louisiana Super Lawyers® Magazine article titled Tony Clayton’s Calling.

The Case of Derrick Todd Lee

From 1992 to 2003, Derrick Todd Lee stalked and murdered seven women in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas of Louisiana. Although he had been previously arrested for stalking and watching women in their homes, Lee was overlooked as a suspect in the murders because local police mistakenly believed the serial killer was white. Tony Clayton was an assistant district attorney at the time, and he recognized this fundamental mistake.

Police broadened their search of DNA evidence, and Lee was implicated.

Tony sent Lee to prison for life.

Breaking Stereotypes & Fighting for Victims

Breaking stereotypes was just the beginning for Tony, who went on to earn a near-perfect conviction record and the role of chief of felony trials for the 18th Judicial District. Though he was initially hesitant to prosecute what may have been predominantly Black defendants, he embraced the realization that his role was not just about prosecution but also about fighting for victims.

“Nobody hates crime more than Black people because they’re often the victims,” remarked Tony.

Tony’s success in court can be attributed not only to his legal acumen but also to his communication skills—and even his dramatic presentations. In one notable case, Tony brought a shovel to court and slammed it into a board to demonstrate how hard the defendant had struck his 17-year-old girlfriend in the head, killing her.

Advocating for victims is a long-standing passion of Tony’s. In addition to his work as a DA, Tony has run his own practice as a personal injury attorney since 1991. He has secured over $1 billion for the injured and wronged. Tony is dedicated to his community and work and will continue to fight for what’s right for as long as possible.

Tony’s story is not just about a successful legal career.

It’s a testament to the impact one individual can have on the justice system.