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Louisiana Court Records

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Louisiana Mayor Court

Louisiana Mayor Courts are local-level courts of limited jurisdiction where Mayors have the judicial authority to hear criminal and civil cases that arise from the violation of municipal ordinances.

Established under the Lawrason Act (La. Rev. Stat. § 33:1–21 and La. Rev. Stat. § 33:321 seq. 481),, Mayor courts are courts of record. Thus, court officials maintain dockets and documents created or filed throughout a trial—this practice is standard in the event that a party appeals the Mayor’s verdict to the District Court.

Mayor courts typically handle the following cases:

  • Traffic infractions
  • Jaywalking
  • Animal control
  • Sleeping in prohibited areas
  • Violation of protective/restraining orders
  • Lease violation
  • Homeowner overgrown grass/weeds violations
  • Trash, rubbish, refuse, & debris violations
  • Disturbing the peace

Generally, the Lawrason Act allows Mayors to impose criminal penalties, administrative sanctions, or civil remedies as authorized under municipal ordinances. Besides these, the Mayor may also issue certain writs, peace bonds, arrest warrants, summonses, set bail, appoint an attorney for an indigent defendant, and determine probable cause for arrest without a warrant (La. Rev. Stat. § 33:441(C)(1)).. However, state laws do not allow these courts to conduct jury trials or adjudicate other state or parish violations.

Mayors who act as the administrative heads for Mayor Courts in Louisiana come into office following a Mayoral election. According to information provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State, and per La. Rev. Stat. § 33:384, Mayoral candidates need not have a professional legal background to run for office.

The requirements at the time of candidacy are that the individual is domiciled and resided in that municipality for at least twelve months preceding the election. However, a candidate must be above 18 years of age, without debt or other financial obligations to the municipality. Furthermore, he/she must have no record of felony convictions or other dangerous criminal activity. Besides these, the candidate must be a registered voter and garner the necessary minimum number of signatures required by their municipality.

Besides the Mayor, other officials that ensure the operation of a Mayor’s court include:

  • A court magistrate(s)
  • A Mayor pro-tempore
  • Chief of police/marshal
  • Clerk of courts
  • Prosecutors
  • Public defenders

Other officials include the bailiff and an animal hearing officer. The appointment of these individuals is per the Mayor’s recommendation to the board of aldermen, a group of three to nine individuals elected to serve as the legislature of a municipality.

A court magistrate serves at the behest of the Mayor to adjudicate cases that arise in the town or village. He/she has the same power as the Mayor and subject to the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct and the Judiciary Commission—just like the Mayor if he/she were acting in a judicial capacity.

The Mayor pro-tempore is an individual authorized to temporarily hold the Mayor’s office, following physical or mental incapacitation of the elected Mayor as determined by a licensed physician. A Mayor pro-tempore may also act when the Mayor’s office is vacant or gives written consent.

The chief of police or marshal is the head of law enforcement in any municipality. He/she enforces all ordinances within the municipality, applicable state laws, and court orders issued by the Mayor.

The clerk of courts is the designated custodian for court records in the Mayor’s court. He/she processes complaints and indictments for violations of municipal ordinances and collects fines imposed by the court. While the clerk may answer court and case affairs questions, the administrative staff may not provide legal aid or advice.

Providing legal aid or advice is the duty of the public defender while the prosecutor initiates criminal proceedings against violators of municipal ordinances. These officials are not present in every Mayor’s court across the state.

Generally, the prosecutor must file criminal charges against a defendant within two years of violation if the offense is punishable by imprisonment, fines, or both. Likewise, plaintiffs who wish to file civil complaints must do so within six months of the violation. The statute of limitation expires otherwise, and the court may not hold defendants liable to the criminal or civil charges, even if guilty.

Defendant on trial may plead guilty, nolo contendere, make a plea bargain during prosecution, or go through with the bench trial. If found guilty, the court shall assess him/her for the stipulated fines. By law, the Mayor or authorized representative may only impose a maximum fine of $500, sixty (60) days in jail, or a combination of both per offense. Under certain circumstances, the court may suspend the punishment and place the guilty defendant on probation for up to six (6) months. Besides these, the court may assess a defendant for court costs, including any law enforcement surcharges.

A person found guilty of an ordinance violation in Louisiana Mayor courts may make a verbal appeal in open court or file a written motion with the clerk. Either way, the case moves up to the District Court of jurisdiction, which conducts a trial de novo, i.e., a new fact-finding procedure to establish criminal or civil liability.

Court proceedings in Mayor courts are generally open to the public unless specified otherwise per court order or when a private hearing would best serve the interest of witnesses or defendants.

There are approximately 250 Mayor courts in operation in towns and villages throughout Louisiana. These courts are organized under the five judicial districts that handle direct appeals from litigants in specified municipalities.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!