St. Mary Parish Criminal Court

St. Mary Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in St. Mary Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in St. Mary Parish.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Who is the prosecutor for St. Mary Parish?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for St. Mary Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of St. Mary 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. Mary Parish Criminal Court

St. Mary Parish Criminal Court

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.

St. Mary Parish Required Court Appearances

In St. Mary 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.

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

Who can help me in St. Mary Parish?

For general information about your case the St. Mary Parish court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.

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. Mary Parish a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

St. Mary Parish Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the St. Mary Parish Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

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.

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.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

St. Mary Parish Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In St. Mary Parish this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in St. Mary 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. Mary 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.

St. Mary Parish Criminal Court Locations

  • St. Mary 16th Judicial District Court

    Address: 500 Main Street, PO Drawer 1231, Franklin LA 70538
    Phone: 337-828-4100 Ext. 200 Fax: 337-828-2509

  • City Court of Morgan City

    Address: 7261 Hwy 182 East, PO Box 1577, Morgan City LA 70381
    Phone: 985-384-2718 Fax: 985-384-7519

  • Franklin City Court

    Address: 508 1/2 Second Street, Franklin LA 70538
    Phone: 337-828-3858 Fax: 337-413-1180

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 1

    Address: 293 Eves Street, Jeanerette LA 70544
    Phone: 337-276-7092 or 337-339-2676

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 2

    Address: 4683 Hwy 83, Franklin LA 70538
    Phone: 337-940-1027

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 4

    Address: PO Box 175, Centerville LA 70522
    Phone: 337-923-1217

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 5

    Address: 1008 Delmar Road, Morgan City LA 70380
    Phone: 985-397-3794

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 7

    Address: 223 Gibbs Road, Franklin LA 70538
    Phone: 337-923-0677

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 8

    Address: 210 Jones Street, Berwick LA 70342
    Phone: 985-385-6101

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 9

    Address: PO Box 1041, Amelia LA 70340
    Phone: 985-631-1014

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 10

    Address: PO Box 876, Baldwin LA 70514
    Phone: 337-578-7626

  • Baldwin Mayor’s Court

    Address: 800 Main Street, PO Box 800, Baldwin LA 70514
    Phone: 337-923-7523 Fax: 337-923-7524

  • Berwick Mayor’s Court

    Address: 3225 3rd Street, PO Box 486, Berwick LA 70342
    Phone: 985-384-8858 Fax: 985-384-8873

  • Patterson Mayor’s Court

    Address: 1314 Main Street, PO Box 367, Patterson LA 70392
    Phone: 985-395-5205 Fax: 985-395-8305

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