St. Bernard Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in St. Bernard Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in St. Bernard Parish.
St. Bernard Parish Required Court Appearances
In St. Bernard 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.
St. Bernard Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in St. Bernard Parish will take place at the St. Bernard Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the St. Bernard Parish Criminal Court Locations.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
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.
St. Bernard Parish Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In St. Bernard Parish this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in St. Bernard 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 St. Bernard 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.
Sentencing in St. Bernard Parish
In St. Bernard 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.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.
Prosecutor in St. Bernard Parish
In St. Bernard Parish, the prosecutor is an attorney representing St. Bernard Parish. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Louisiana. For the most part, the prosecutor in St. Bernard Parish has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Where can I get help for my St. Bernard Parish criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for St. Bernard Parish will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
St. Bernard Parish Criminal Court Locations
St. Bernard 34th Judicial District Court
Address: 1101 West St. Bernard Highway, PO Box 1746, Chalmette LA 70043
Phone: 504-271-3434 Fax: 504-278-4380
Justice of the Peace Ward A
Address: 1036 Center Street, Arabi LA 70032
Justice of the Peace Ward B
Address: 901 Badger Drive, Arabi LA 70032
Justice of the Peace Ward C
Address: 4001 Jean Lafitte Pkwy, Chalmette LA 70043
Justice of the Peace Ward D
Address: 2110 Packenham Drive, Chalmette LA 70043
Justice of the Peace Ward E
Address: 3020 Paris Road, Chalmette LA 70043
Phone: 504-277-4256 Fax: 504-277-4263
Justice of the Peace Ward F
Address: 2003 Pelitere Drive, Chalmette LA 70043
Justice of the Peace Ward G
Address: 3804 Palmisano Blvd, Chalmette LA 70043
Justice of the Peace Ward H
Address: 1929 Licciardi Drive, Chalmette LA 70043
Justice of the Peace Ward I
Address: 3001 Maureen Lane, Meraux LA 70075
Justice of the Peace Ward J
Address: PO Box 711, Violet LA 70092
Justice of the Peace Ward K
Address: 2012 Kingfisher Drive, St. Bernard LA 70085