St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in St. John the Baptist Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in St. John the Baptist Parish.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Jury Deliberations in St. John the Baptist Parish
In St. John the Baptist Parish, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
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.
Where can I get help for my St. John the Baptist 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. John the Baptist 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In St. John the Baptist Parish you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Mandatory Appearances in St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in St. John the Baptist Parish, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In St. John the Baptist Parish a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in St. John the Baptist Parish will take place at the St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Court Locations.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
What happens in St. John the Baptist Parish at an arraignment?
In St. John the Baptist Parish the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Who is the prosecutor for St. John the Baptist Parish?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for St. John the Baptist Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of St. John the Baptist 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.
St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Court Locations
St. John the Baptist 40th Judicial District Court
Address: 2393 Hwy 18, PO Box 280, Edgard LA 70049
Phone: 985-497-3331 Fax: 985-497-3972
St. John the Baptist 40th Judicial District Court – Eastbank Office
Address: 1020 Cambridge Drive, LaPlace LA 70068
Phone: 985-652-8041 Fax: 985-653-8468
Justice of the Peace District 1
Address: 2231 Hwy 18, Edgard LA 70049
Justice of the Peace District 2
Address: PO Box 61, Garyville LA 70051
Justice of the Peace District 3
Address: 143 East 25th Street, Reserve LA 70084
Justice of the Peace District 4
Address: 100 Lane A, LaPlace LA 70068
Justice of the Peace District 5
Address: 153 West 5th Street, LaPlace LA 70068
Justice of the Peace District 6
Address: 2237 Williamsburg Drive, La Place LA 70068
Justice of the Peace District 7
Address: 366 Shadow Lane, LaPlace LA 70068