Coronavirus closing Louisiana courts
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The coronavirus outbreak is now shutting down courts in Bossier, Webster and Caddo parishes.
Under a judicial order issued by 26th Judicial District Court Chief Judge Michael Nerren, courts in Bossier and Webster parishes will effectively close to the public, starting at 8 a.m. on March 19, 2020 and last until 5 p.m. on April 10, 2020.
The Caddo Parish court closures became effective immediately, upon an order signed by 2nd Judicial District Court Chief Judge Robert Wadell. Court closures in Caddo Parish will also run until April 10th, 2020.
The orders, handed down early this afternoon in both judicial districts, state that all jury trials (both civil and criminal) and grand jury proceedings will be reset and reconvened. Most criminal hearings and court appearances are also being reset and rescheduled.
However, during this period, initial criminal appearances, inmate arraignments and bond hearings will still be held as normal. Judges will also hold hearings for protective orders, emergency custody proceedings and emergency interdictions in accordance with Louisiana law.
In Caddo Parish, the judicial order also took the added step of banning certain at-risk individuals from entering the courthouse. Included in that population, is anyone who traveled to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran Washington, California or New York over the past 14 days, plus anyone coming into contact with people who traveled to those places. Finally, according to the order, anyone asked to self-quarantine and those testing positive for coronavirus will be banned from the Caddo Parish courthouse.
Other courts and judicial districts across Louisiana are expected to issue similar orders, in response to the coronavirus outbreak and Governor John Bel Edwards’ declaration of a public health emergency regarding public gatherings.
This is a developing story and updates will be provided as more judicial orders are issued.
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