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COVID-19 and the Courts: How the Coronavirus Is Affecting Orleans and Jefferson Courts

Posted on Mar 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

Orleans Municipal and Traffic will be closed until further notice due to the coronavirus quarantine. Jefferson Courts are closed for the next 30 days. What will this mean for those with traffic tickets or upcoming court dates? What about people who are arrested or charged during the quarantine? We have been getting a lot of calls from people who are understandably concerned about what the court closures means for them. On top of dealing with a pandemic, no one wants to worry about a warrant or suspended driver’s license. Fortunately, the courts are being proactive and pragmatic. Here’s a breakdown of the measures being taken by the courts.

Orleans Municipal and Traffic Court

  • Court closed until further notice
  • Starting March 16th, 2020 all trials and hearings within the next 45 days will be reset.
  • For 45 days, the court will not issue any attachments or issue any warrants
  • First appearances will be conducted via video conference on a case-by-case basis

Second Parish Court of Jefferson

  • Court closed for 30 days, until April 10, 2020 or until further notice.
  • All trials and hearings scheduled between March 13th and April 10th will be reset to a later date.
  • All attachments issued through April 10th will be recalled.
  • All contempt through April 10th will be waived, except in special cases.

First Parish Court of Jefferson

  • Closed March 16th – April 12th, or until further notice.
  • All filings during this time must be accomplished via online or fax filing.

Trials and Hearings Will Be Reset

All trials and hearings at Orleans Municipal and Traffic Court that were set on or after March 16, 2020 will be reset to a later date. This order is in effect for the next 45 days or until further notice, according to NOLAready.com. Similarly, Second Parish Court in Jefferson, will be closed until April 13th, 2020 or until further notice is given. All court dates that fall within that timeframe will be reset. All defendants are to be notified of their new date via US mail.  If you have hired an attorney to represent you, and they have enrolled on your behalf, then they will receive the new date. At this time, we do not know when these new dates will be sent out, nor how far out the courts will be setting new dates. It is very possible that many will not be reset until the courts actually reopen. We will be contacting our clients as soon as we have information about their rescheduled court dates.

Attachments and License Suspension Are On Hold For Now

Orleans will not issue any attachments or suspend drivers’ licenses for 45 days, or until further notice. Second Parish (Jefferson) will not issue attachments through April 10, 2020. This should provide some relief for anybody worried about missing their date. If you have a court date that falls during the quarantine, rest assured that you will eventually be assigned a new date, and won’t suffer any penalties in the meantime. You may not hear anything on your case for some time. It is likely that new dates will not be issued until after the courts reopen.

Video conference first appearances on case-by-case basis

Orleans Parish has indicated that first appearances for new charges that come up during the time the court is closed will be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, no first appearances will be conducted in person. Instead, they will be conducted via video conference.

Jury Trials are Suspended for the time being

If you have jury duty, you may have just got out of it! Or, at least, it’s getting postponed. Stay tuned for more info as this develops.

Stay Safe and Healthy!

These are uncharted waters for all of us. The closest comparison we have is the post-Katrina fallout. During that time, Bloom Legal continued to operate inside a dilapidated court system, fighting to protect the rights of our clients. Likewise, Bloom Legal will continue at full operation through this pandemic. Even in times such as these, people still get in trouble and need help. As a digital firm of the 21st century, we are equipped to continue working for the people of New Orleans no matter the circumstances. If you do find yourself in legal trouble, contact Bloom Legal. We will continue to operate 24/7 throughout this crisis, and as always, our consultations are free. Stay safe , everyone! We will get through this together!

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