Vernon Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Vernon Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Vernon Parish.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Vernon Parish?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Vernon Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of Vernon 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.
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.
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.
Vernon Parish Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Vernon Parish Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Vernon 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.
Who can help me in Vernon Parish?
For general information about your case the Vernon 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.
Vernon Parish Required Court Appearances
In Vernon 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.
Arraignments in Vernon Parish
During an arraignment in Vernon Parish, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Vernon Parish, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Vernon Parish the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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.
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.
Vernon Parish Criminal Court Locations
Vernon 30th Judicial District Court
Address: 215 South 4th Street, PO Box 40, Leesville LA 71496
Phone: 337-238-1384 Fax: 337-238-9902
Leesville City Court
Address: 101 West Lee Street, PO Box 1486, Leesville LA 71496
Phone: 337-238-1531 Fax: 337-392-8582
Justice of the Peace Ward 2
Address: 196 Holly Grove Road, Anacoco LA 71403
Justice of the Peace Ward 3
Address: 2055 Bonner Road, PO Box 101, Evans LA 70639
Phone: 337-286-5558 or 337-286-5907
Justice of the Peace Ward 4
Address: 207 Ray Cook Road, Leesville LA 71446
Justice of the Peace Ward 5
Address: 132 P. Lacaze Road, Pitkin LA 70656
Phone: 318-358-5351 or 318-481-1951
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: PO Box 522, Simpson LA 71474
Justice of the Peace Ward 7
Address: 4935 Churchman Road, Pitkin LA 70656
Justice of the Peace Ward 8
Address: PO Box 111, Slagle LA 71475
Anacoco Mayor’s Court
Address: 4973 Main Street, PO Box 280, Anacoco LA 71403
Phone: 337-239-0215 Fax: 337-238-5550
Hornbeck Mayor’s Court
Address: 1083 Hammond Street, PO Box 129, Hornbeck LA 71439
Phone: 318-565-4659 Fax: 318-565-4228
New Llano Mayor’s Court
Address: 109 Stanton Street, New Llano LA 71461
Phone: 337-239-3670 Fax: 337-239-9091
Rosepine Mayor’s Court
Address: 18846 Johnny B Hall Memorial Hwy, PO Box 528, Rosepine LA 70659
Phone: 337-463-8908 Fax: 337-463-6935
Simpson Mayor’s Court
Address: 4464 Hwy 8, PO Box 278, Simpson LA 71474
Phone: 337-383-7731 Fax: 337-383-7794