NewsCovering Louisiana


State Supreme Court delays all civil and criminal trials in Louisiana

Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 16:57:22-04

The Louisiana Supreme Court has halted almost all trials, hearings and court appearances in any state court until March 30.

The order applies to both civil and criminal matters. Trials already underway can finish, at the discretion of the presiding court. The only hearings that aren't canceled are those for civil protective orders, child in need of care proceedings, emergency child custody matters, proceedings for children removed from their home by emergency court order, proceedings related to emergency interdictions and mental health orders, matters of public health related to this crisis and other emergency matters necessary to protect the health, safety and liberty of individuals as determined by each court.

Also, criminal initial appearances for adults and juveniles, arraignments for incarcerated individuals and bond hearings shall continue as scheduled and shall be conducted with the use of telephone and video conferencing whenever possible, the court ordered.

"All judges and court clerks are urged to limit in-person courtroom contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including alternative means of filing, teleconferencing, email and videoconferencing," the Court orders. "This Order expressly does not prohibit any court proceedings by telephone, video, teleconferencing, or any other means that do not involve in-person contact. This Order does not affect courts’ consideration of matters that can be resolved without in-person proceedings."

The delay ordered by the court won't count toward the math done in arguing speedy trial motions, the court orders.

“Both the Center for Disease Control and the Louisiana Department of Health have advised people to take precautions in light of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) outbreak, and Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a public health emergency,” said Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. “First and foremost, we must handle this public health crisis in a way that protects the health and safety of everyone at our court facilities, while at the same time, to the extent possible, maintains access to the courts. To that end, we have issued this Order to allow access to the courts while balancing the need to be proactive in protecting those who work in and come in contact with those in the court system to help lessen the potential impact and spread of the coronavirus.”

Here's the court's press release, because it's a little easier to understand. The order is below it, just scroll down.

Here's the full order: