Informer: Jurisdiction of justices of the peace limited

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

If someone is elected to a justice of the peace position in a certain district of the parish, can he travel outside the district

or parish to perform his duties in another area of the state?

It depends on the duties involved.

Under state law, justice of the peace duties include handling civil cases that involve disputed amounts of $5,000 or less

and performing marriages.

In the case of civil matters, a justice court can’t be held outside the area a justice of the peace was elected to serve.

“The justice of the peace only has

jurisdiction within the ward from which she is elected,” reads an

attorney general’s opinion

delivered in 2011 to a female justice of the peace in Ouachita

Parish who wanted to know if she could hold court in a different

ward.

“In order for the court to properly exercise jurisdiction over the cases to be heard, court must be held in the ward or district

from which the justice of the peace is elected.”

As for marriages, state law allows justices of the peace to perform ceremonies anywhere within their parishes and “in any

parish within the same supreme court district which has no justice of the peace court.”

Allen, Beauregard and Vernon parishes are in District 2, which includes Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto, Evangeline, Natchitoches,

Red River, Sabine and Webster parishes.

Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes are in District 3, which includes Acadia, Avoyelles, Lafayette, St. Landry and

Vermilion parishes.

Justices of the peace can perform marriages outside their jurisdictions if they receive approval from the state Supreme Court.

Additionally, retired justices of the peace who served 18 years in their posts may perform marriages in the parishes they

served if they “deposit an affidavit stating their lawful name, denomination, and address with the clerk of court,” reads

the attorney general’s Justice Court Manual.

Online: www.ag.state.la.us.

I-10 work likely to go out for bids in 2015

Does the state have any plans to improve I-10 from Toomey to the Texas line — that’s La. 109 to the Texas line — in the future?

Yes.

Deidra Druilhet, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said highway officials plan to

six-lane Interstate 10 from the Texas line to just east of Coone Gully.

She said the project, which will involve a 10-mile stretch of highway, will likely be subject to bids in fiscal year 2015-2016.

According to a State Transportation Improvement Program project list, the work will cost about $71.5 million, most of which

— $57.2 million — will be supplied by the federal government.

Online: www.dotd.la.gov/multimodal/stip.aspx.

Questioners’ names kept confidential

When someone writes in to The Informer, it is confidential, correct?

It is.

Online: www.americanpress.com/informer.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com