Morehouse Parish Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Morehouse Parish. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Morehouse Parish.
Morehouse Parish Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Morehouse Parish this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Morehouse Parish Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Morehouse Parish a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
I need help for my Morehouse Parish criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Morehouse Parish court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Morehouse Parish will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Who is the prosecutor for Morehouse Parish?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Morehouse Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of Morehouse Parish or a representative from Louisiana. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Morehouse Parish Required Court Appearances
In Morehouse Parish, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Morehouse Parish you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Morehouse Parish Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Morehouse Parish Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Sentencing in Morehouse Parish
In Morehouse Parish if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
In a jury trial in Morehouse Parish, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Morehouse Parish Criminal Court Locations
Morehouse 4th Judicial District Court
Address: 100 East Madison Street, PO Box 1543, Bastrop LA 71221
Phone: 318-281-3343 Fax: 318-281-3775
Bastrop City Court
Address: 202 East Jefferson Avenue, PO Box 391, Bastrop LA 71221
Phone: 318-283-0257 Fax: 318-283-3386
Justice of the Peace Ward 1
Address: 3407 Bayou Acres Drive, Bastrop LA 71220
Phone: 318-283-2299 Fax: 318-283-2298
Justice of the Peace Ward 2
Address: 17613 Viola Carroll Road, Bastrop LA 71220
Justice of the Peace Ward 5
Address: 3373 Bayou Acres Drive, Bastrop LA 71220
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: PO Box 192, Mer Rouge LA 71261
Phone: 318-647-5298 Fax: 318-281-8099
Justice of the Peace Ward 7
Address: 12005 Yeldell Road, Bastrop LA 71220
Phone: 318-283-0071 or 318-669-0468
Justice of the Peace Ward 8
Address: 6620 Harper Lane, Collinston LA 71229
Justice of the Peace Ward 9
Address: 15800 Brewer Creek, Bastrop LA 71220
Justice of the Peace Ward 10
Address: 14848 Holly Ridge Road, Jones LA 71250
Bonita Mayor’s Court
Address: 15446 Bonita Avenue, PO Box 278, Bonita LA 71223
Phone: 318-823-2128 Fax: 318-823-2703
Collinston Mayor’s Court
Address: 4618 Main Street, PO Box 148, Collinston LA 71229
Phone: 318-874-2631 Fax: 318-874-2196
Mer Rouge Mayor’s Court
Address: 107 North 18th Street, PO Box 238, Mer Rouge LA 71261
Phone: 318-647-3622 Fax: 318-647-3623
Oak Ridge Mayor’s Court
Address: 104 North Oak Street, PO Box 58, Oak Ridge LA 71264
Phone: 318-244-5033 Fax: 318-244-5033