Louisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973).

Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 4) online

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17 office hours for all clerks of district courts.

18 Section 32. Coroner; Election; Term; Qualifications; Du-

19 ties

20 Section 32. In each parish, a coroner shall be elected for

21 a term of four years with such qualifications and duties

22 as may be prescribed by law.

23 Section 33. Vacancies

24 Section 33. When a vacancy occurs in the following offices,
26 the duties of the office, until it is filled by election as pro-

26 vided by law, shall be assumed by: in the case of sheriff,

27 the chief criminal deputy; district attorney, the first assis-

28 tant; clerk of a district court, the chief deputy; coroner,

29 the chief deputy. If there is no such person to assume the

30 duties at the time of the vacancy, the governing authority

31 or authorities of the parish or parishes concerned shall

32 appoint a qualified person to assume the duties of the office

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1 until filled by election.

2 Section 34. Reduction of Salaries and Benefits Prohib-

3 ited

4 Section 34. No attorney general, district attorney, sheriff,

5 or clerk of the district court shall have his salary or re-

6 tirement benefits diminished during his term of office.

7 Section 35. Orleans Parish Courts, Officials; Continued

g Section 35. Notwithstanding any provision of this Article

9 to the contrary, the following courts and officers in Orleans

10 Parish are continued, subject to change by a majority vote

11 of the elected members of each house of the legislature and

12 by approval in a referendum in the parish: the civil and
18 criminal district courts, the city, municipal, traffic and juve-

14 nile courts, the clerks of the civil and criminal district

15 courts, the civil and criminal sheriffs, the constables and

16 the clerks of the first and second city courts, the register

17 of conveyances, and the recorder of mortgages. These offi-

18 cers shall be elected for four-year terms with such duties

19 and powers as provided by the legislature and terms of

20 office, retirement benefits, or compensation shall not be

21 reduced during their terms of office.

22 The civil district court shall have civil jurisdiction as pro-

23 vided in Section 16 of this Article and the criminal district

24 court shall have criminal jurisdiction as provided in Section

25 16 of this Article.

26 The judicial expense fund of Orleans Parish as existing at

27 the time of the adoption of this constitution is retained

28 subject to change by two-thirds vote of the elected members

29 of each house of the legislature.

80 Section 36. Jurors; Qualifications; Exemptions

31 Section 36. The superme court by rule shall provide for

32 qualification and exemption of jurors.

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Section 37. Grand Jury

Section 37. There shall be a grand jury or grand juries
in each parish whose duties and responsibilities shall be
provided by law and whose qualifications shall be as pro-
vided in Section 6 of this Article. The secrecy of the pro-
ceedings, including the identity of the witnesses appearing,
shall be provided for by law.

Section 38. Fees ; Orleans Parish

Section 38. The judges of the civil district court and the
city courts of Orleans Parish shall set the fees for civil
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1 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF LOUISI.l.MA OF 1973

2 COMMITTEE PROPOSAL NUMBER 21

3 Introduced by Delegate Dennis, Chairman, on behalf of

4 the Committee on the Judiciary, and Delegates Avant, Bel,

5 Bergeron, Bums, Deshotels, Drew, Gauthier, Kelly, Kilbourne,

6 Landry, Martin, Ourso, Sandoz, Tate, and Vesich (A Substitute

7 for Committee Proposal No. 6)
8

9 A PROPOSAL

10

11 Making provisions for the judiciary branch of government

12 and necessary provisions with respect thereto.

13 Be it adopted by the Constitutional Convention of Louisiana

14 of 1973:

15 ARTICLE V. JUDICIAL BRANCH

16 Section 1. Judicial Power

17 Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in a

18 supreme court, courts of appeal, district courts, and other

19 courts authorized by this constitution.

20 Section 2. Habeas Corpus, Needful Writs, Orders and

21 Process

22 Section 2. A judge may issue writs of habeas corpus

23 and all other needful writs, orders and process in aid of

24 the jurisdiction of his court. Exercise of this authority

25 by a judge of the supreme court or court of appeal is sub-

26 ject to review by the whole court. The power to punish for

27 contempt of court shall be limited by law.

28 Section 3. Supreme Court; Composition; Judgments;

29 Terms

30 Section 3. The supreme court shall be composed of a

31 chief justice and six associate justices, four of whom must

32 concur to render iudgment. The terra of a judge of the supreme

33 court shall be ten years.

34 Section 4. Supreme Court; Districts

35 Section 4. The stdle shall be divit'ed into at least



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1 six supreme court districts, with at least tme judge elected 1

2 from each. The present districts and the number of judges 2

3 assigned to each are retained, subject to change by a two- 3
A thirds vote of the elected members of each house of the 4

5 legislature. 5

6 Section 5. Supreme Court ; Supervisory, Original, and 6

7 Appellate Jurisdiction ; Rule -Making Power ;Assignmpntof 7

8 Judges 8

9 Section 5 . (A) The supreme court has general super- 9

10 visory jurisdiction over all other courts . It may establish 10

11 procedural and administrative rules not in conflict with law. 11

12 It may assign a sitting or retired judge to any court. 12

13 (B) The supreme court has exclusive original 13

14 jurisdiction of disciplinary proceedings against members of 14

15 the bar. 15

16 (C) Except as otherwise provided In this constitution, the 16

17 supreme court's Jurisdiction in civil cases extends to both 17

18 the law and the facts. In criminal matters, its appellate 18

19 jurisdiction extends only to questions of law . 19

20 (D) In addition to appeals provided for elsewhere in 20

21 this constitution, the following cases shall be appealable to 21

22 the supreme court : 22

23 (1) A case in which a law or ordinance has been declared 23

24 unconstitutional ; 24

25 (2) Cases in which the defendant has been convicted of 25

26 a felony or in which a fine exceeding five hundred dollars or 26

27 imprisonment exceeding six months has been actually imposed. 27

28 (E) Subject to the provisions of Paragraph (C) , the 28

29 supreme court has appellate jurisdiction ovei all Issues in- 29

30 volved in any civil action properly before it. 30

31 (F) In all criminal cases not provided for in subsection 31

32 (D) (2) of this Section an accused shall have a right of appeal 32

33 or review, as provided by law. 33

34 Sect ion 6 . Supreme Court ; the Chie f Jus. i i ce 34

35 Section 6. (A) Vlien a vacancy in the office of chief 35



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justice occurs, the judge oldest in point: of service on the
court, shall succeed to the office.

(B) The chief justice is the chief administrative
officer of the judicial system of the state, subject to rules
adopted by the court.

Section 7. Supreme Court; Judicial Administrator,
Clerks and Staff

Section 7. The supreme court has authority to select
a judicial administrator, its clerks, and other personnel,
and prescribe their duties.

Section 8. Courts of Appeal; Panels; Number Necessary
to Decision; Terms

Section 8. The state shall be divided into at least
four circuits, with one court of appeal in each circuit.
Each court shall sit in panels of at least three judges selected
according to rules adopted by the court. A majority of the
judges sitting in a case must concur to render judgment. However,
when the judgment of the district court is to be modified or
reversed, and one judge dissents, the case shall be reargued,
before a panel of at least five judges, prior to rendition
of judgment, and a majority must concur to render judgment. The
term of a court of appeal judge shall be ten years.

Section 9. Courts of Appeal; Circuits and Districts
Section 9. Each circuit shall be divided into at least
three districts, with at least one judge elected from each.
After January 1, 1975, no judge shall be elected at large from
within the circuit. The present circuits and districts and the
number of judges as elected in each circuit are retained, subject
to change by two-thirds vote of the elected members in each
house of the legislature .

Section 10. Courts of Appeal ; Appellate and Supervisory
Jurisdiction

Section 10 . (A) Except in those case.s appealable to the
supreme court and as otherwise provided in this consti tut j on , a
court of appeal has appellate jurisdiction of all rivil casc-s



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decided within its circuit. It has appellate jurisdiction of all

maccers appealed from the family and juvenile courts, except criminal

prosecutions of persons other than juveniles. It has supervisory

iurisdiction over all cases in which an appeal would lie to that court.

(B) Except as limited to questions of law by this
constitution or as provided by law in the case of review of
administrative agency determinations, its appellate jurisdiction
extends to law and facts.

Section 11. Courts of Appeal; Certification to Supreme
Court ; Determination

Section 11. A court of appeal may certify any question
of law before It to the supreme court, whereupon the supreme
court may give Its binding instruction, or consider and decide
the case upon the whole record.

Section 12. Courts of Appeal; Chief Judge; Duties

Section 12. There shall be a chief judge of each court of
appeal who shall be the judge oldest in point of service on the
court and who shall administer the court subject to rules adopted
by the court.

Section 13. Courts of Appeal; Clerks and Staff

Section 13. Each court of appeal has authority to select
its clerk and other personnel and prescribe their duties.

Section 14. District Courts; Judicial Districts

Section 14. The state shall be divided into judicial
districts, each composed of one or more parishes and served by
one or more district judges.

Section 15. Courts; Continued; Jurisdiction; Judicial

Districts Changes; Terms

Section 15. (A) The district, parish, magistrate, city,
family, and juvenile courts existing at the tine of the adoption
of this constitution are retained. The legislature may abolish
or merge trial courts of limited or specialized jurisdiction
subject to the limitations in Sections i6 and 21 of this Article.
The legislature may establish trial courts of limited jurisdiction
which shall have parishwide territorial jurisdiction and subject



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1 matter jurisdiction which shall he uniform throughout the state. The

2 office of city marshal is continued until such time as the city court

3 he serves is abolished by the legislature.

4 (B) The judicial districts existing at the time of the adoption

5 of this constitution are retained. The legislature, by a majority vote

6 of the elected members of each house, with approval in a referendum

7 in each district and parish affected, may establish, divide, or merge

8 judicial districts, subject to the limitations of Section 21 of this

9 Article.

10 (C) The term of a district and parish judges shall be six years.

11 (D) The legislature may increase or decrease the numbe r of j udges

12 in any judicial district by a two-thirds vote of the elected membership

13 of each house .

14 Section 15.1. City Court Judges; Terms

15 Section 15.1. A judge of a city court shall be elected for the

16 same term as a district court judge.

17 Section 16. District Courts; Original Jurisdiction

18 Section 16. (A) Unless otherwise authorized by this constitution,

19 a district court shall have original jurisdiction in all civil and criminal

20 matters. It shall have exclusive original jurisdiction: of felony cases

21 and of cases involving: the title to immovable property ; the righ c to

22 office or other public position; civil or political rights; probate

23 and succession matters; the state, a political corporation, or a succession,

24 as a party defendant, regardless of the amount in dispute; and the appointment

25 of receivers or liquidators to corporations or partnerships.

26 (B) A district court shall have appellate jurisdiction as provided

27 by law.

28 Section 17. District Courts; Chief Judge

29 Section 17. Each district court shall elect from its members a

30 chief judge who shall exercise, for the term designated by the court,

31 the Administrative functions as prescribed by rule ot court.

32 Section 18. Juvenile Courts; Jurisdiction

33 Section 18. Notwithstanding any provision of this Article to the contrary,

34 the juvenile and family cc>:rts shall have such jurisdiction as thr U^Rislature

35 shall provide by law.



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Section 19. Mayors* Courts; Justices of the Peace;
Continued

Section 19 . Mayors ' courts and justice of the peace
courts existing at the time of the adootion of this consti-
tution are continued subject to change by the legislature.

Section 21. Judges; Term of Office or Compensation
May Not Be Decreased

Section 21. No judge's term of office or compensation
shall be decreased during the tern for which he is elected.

Section 22. Judges; Election; Vacancy in Office

Section 22. (A) Except as othen^flse provided in this
Section all judges shall be elected. Election of judges
shall be at the regular congressional election.

(B) A newly-created judgeship or a vacancy in the office
of any judge shall be filled by a special election which
shall be called by the governor, and held within six months
of the day on which the vacancy occurs or the judgeship is
established, except when the vacancy occurs in the last six
months of in existing term. Until the vacancy is filled,

the supreme court shall appoint a person meeting the qualifications,
other than domicile, for the office, to serve at its pleasure,
who shall be ineligible as a candidate for election to the
judgeship at the election to fill the vacancy or the newly
created judicial office. For service as an appointed judge,
the person appointed to fill the vacancy, other than a retired
judge, shall not be eligible for retirement benefits provided
for the elected judiciary.

(C) A judge serving on the date of adoption of this
constitution shall continue in office for the term to which
elected and shall serve through DeceTiber thirty- first of the
last year of his term or, if the last year of his term is not



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C. P. No. 21

y in the even-numbered year of a regular congressional election,

2 then through December thirty-first of the following year. The

3 election for the next term in the office will be held in the

4 year in which the term expires as provided above.

5 Section 23. Retirement of Judges

6 Section 23. (A) Within two years after the effective

7 date of this constitution, the legislature shall provide for

8 a retirement system for judges which shall apply to a judge

9 taking office after the effective date of the statute enact-

10 ing the system and to which a judge in office at the time
XI of its adoption may elect to join with credit for all prior

12 years of judicial service without contribution therefor;

13 provided, however, a judge in office or retired at the time

14 of adoption of this constitution, shall not have diminished

15 any retirement benefits or judicial service rights, nor shall

16 the benefits to which his surviving spouse is entitled, be

17 reduced.

18 (B) A judge shall not remain in office beyond his

19 seventieth birthday, except as otherwise provided in this

20 Section.

21 Section 24. Judges; Qualifications; Practice of Law

22 Prohibited

23 Section 24. A judge of the supreme court, court of

24 appeal, district court, family court, parish court, or court

25 having solely juvenile jurisdiction shall have been admitted

26 to the practice of law in this state for at least five years

27 prior to his election, shall have been domiciled in the re-

28 spective district, circuit, or parish for at least two years

29 Immediately preceding election, and shall not practice law,

30 Section 25. Judiciary Comnission; Composition; Terms;

31 Vacancy; Grounds for Removal; Powers

32 Section 25 . (A) The Judiciary Commission shall consist

33 of one court of appeal judge and two district court judges

34 selected by the supreme court; two attorneys admitted to

35 the practice of law for at least ten years and one attorney



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1 admitted to the practice of law for at least three years 1

2 but not more than ten years who are not judges, active or 2

3 retired, nor public officials other than notaries public, 3

4 selected by the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal 4

5 Judges' Association or its successor; and three citizens, not 5

6 lawyers , judges active or retired, nor public officials, 6

7 appointed by the Louisiana District Judges' Association or 7

8 Itssuccessor. 8

9 (B) A member of the commission shall serve a four- 9

10 year term and shall not be eligible to succeed himself. 10

11 (C) A member's term shall terminate when he loses 11

12 the status causing his appointment or when any event occurs 12

13 which would have made him ineligible for appointment. 13

14 (D) When a vacancy occurs, a successor shall be 14

15 appointed for a four-year term by the authority which 15

16 appointed his predecessor. 16

17 (E) On recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, 17

18 the supreme court may censure, suspend with or without 18

19 salary, remove from office, or retire involuntarily a 19

20 judge for willful misconduct relating to his official 20

21 duty, willful and persistent failure to perform his duty, 21

22 persistent and public conduct prejudicial to the adminis- 22

23 tration of justice that brings the judicial office into 23

24 disrepute, conduct while in office which would constitute 24

25 a felony, or conviction of a felony. On recommendation 25

26 of the Judiciary Commission, the supreme court may dis- 26

27 qualify a judge from exercising any judicial function, 27

28 without loss of salary, during the pendency of the pro- 28

29 ceedings in the supreme court. On recoimiendation of the 29

30 Judiciary Commission , the supreme court may retire involun- 30

31 tarlly a judge for disability that seriously interferes with 31

32 the performance of his duties and that is, or is likely to 32

33 become, of a pemanent character. The suoretne rourl shall 33

34 make rules implementing this section and providing lor con- 34

35 fldentiality and privilege of corp'ilssion oroceedings. 35



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(F) Action against a judge undei this Section shall not
preclude disciplinary action against him with respect to his
license to practice law.

Section 26. Department of Justice; Composition; Attorney
General; Election and Assistants

Section 26. There shall be a department of justice
consisting of an attorney general, a first assistant attorney
general, and other necessary assistants and staff. The attor-
ney general shall be elected for a term of four years at the
state general election, and the assistants shall be appointed
by the attorney general to serve at his pleasure.

Section 27. Attorney General ; Powers and Dut ies ;
Vacancy

Section 27. (A) The attorney general shall be the state's
chief legal officer. As may be necessary for the assertion or
protection of the rights and interests of the state , the attorney
general shall have authority to:

(1) institute and prosecute or intervene in any civil
actions or proceedings;

(2) advise and assist, upon request of a district attorney ,
in the prosecution of a criminal case; and

(3) for cause when authorized by the court of original
jurisdiction in which any proceeding or af f i davit is pending,
subject to judicial review, supercede any attorney representing
the state in any civil or criminal action.

He shall have such other powers and perform such other duties
as may be authorized by this constitution or provided by statute.

Section 28. District Attorney; Election; Qualifications;
Assistants

Section 28. In each judicial district a district attorney
shall be elected by the qualified electors of the district for
a term of six year;i . He shall have been admitted to the practice
of law in the stat>- for at least five years prior to his election
and shall have resi-u,j in the district for the two years iimediately
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as may be authorized by law and othei personnel. 1

Section 29. Defense of Criminal Prosecution; Removal ^

Section 29. No district attorney or assistant district J

attorney shall appear, plead or in any way defend, or assist 4

in defending any criirinal prosecution or charge. A violation 5

shall be cause for removal. 6

Section 30. Sheriff; Duties; Tax Collector 7
Section 30. In each parish, a sheriff shall be elected for 8

a term of four years. He shall be the chief law enforcement 9

officer in the parish, except as otherwise provided by this 10

constitution, and shall execute court orders and process. 11

He shall be the collector of state and parish ad valorem 12

taxes and such other taxes and licenses as provided by 13

law . 14

This section shall not apply to the parish of Orleans. 15

Section 31. Clerks; Elections; Powers and Duties; Depu- 16

ties; Office Hours 17

Section 31. (A) In each parish, a clerk of the district 18

court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the parish 19

for a term of four years. He shall be ex officio notary 20

public and parish recorder of conveyances, mortgages, and 21

other acts and shall have such other duties and powers as 22

may be prescribed by law. The clerk may appoint deputies 23

with such duties and powers as may be prescribed bv law and 24

he may appoint, with the approval of the district judges, 25

minute clerks with such duties and powers as may be prescribed 26

by law. 27

(B) The legislature shall establish statewide uniform 28

office hours for all clerks of district courts. 29

Section 32. Coroner; Election; Term; Qualifications; 30

Duties 31

Section 32. In each parish, a coroner shall be elected 32

for a term of four years. He shall be a licensed physician 33
and possess such other qualifications and perform such duties 34
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a licensed physician shall r.ot aoply to any parish in

which there is no licensed physician who will accept

XL\\y\ office .

Section 33. Vacancies

Section 33. l^en a vacancy occurs in the following
offices, the duties of the office, until it is filled by
election as provided by law, shall be assumed by: in the case
of sheriff, the chief criminal deputy; district attorney, the
first assistant; clerk of a district court, the chief deputy;
coroner, the chief deputy. If there is no such person to
assume the duties at the time of the vacancy, the governing
authority or authorities of the parish or parishes concerned
shall appoint a qualified person to assume the duties of the
office until filled by election.

Section 34. Reduction of Salaries and Benefits
Prohibited

Section 34. No attorney general, judge, district attorney,
sheriff, coroner, or clerk of the district court shall have his
salary or retirement benefits diminished during his term of
office .

Section 35. Orleans Parish Courts, Officials;
Continued

Section 35. Except for provisions relating to terms of



Online LibraryLouisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973)Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 65)