Rules of Court
City Court of the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sitting En Banc with the Honorable Yvette M. Alexander, administrative judge presiding, was opened pursuant to adjournment.
En Banc Order - Effective March 11, 2004
View the Rules of the Court (PDF) document.
These rules shall govern the operation of the Baton Rouge City Court. A current copy of these rules shall be maintained in the office of the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator. Appropriate distribution shall be made within the local legal community and copies shall be made available upon request at the office of the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator.
Rule 2-En Banc Orders
The Court may, from time to time, render en banc orders which shall take precedence over any rule of court in conflict therewith. Such orders shall be maintained in a special En Banc Order book which shall be available for inspection upon request at the office of the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator. Any en banc order rendered prior to the adoption of these rules and which is in conflict herewith shall be considered as vacated and superseded. All other such orders are to remain in full force and effect.
Rule 3-Operational Structure
Although each judge of this court is separately elected to his particular division and is not by law generally subject to the supervision or orders of the other judges, it is necessary for administrative and policy reasons to coordinate and operate the divisions as one unified court to the maximum extent possible. Accordingly, except as to decisions and judgments of each judge in cases specifically assigned to him or in other litigious matters submitted to him for decision as part of the specific duties assigned to him by these rules, the decision and judgment of a majority of the judges then actively pursuing their duties shall be necessary to administer the affairs of this court.
The court shall be composed of five (5) divisions, designated A, B, C, D, and E, all in accordance with Louisiana Revised Statutes 13:1952(4); the Plan of Government for the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge, Section 11.04, and the Code of Ordinances for the City and Parish, Title 1, Section 51. One judge shall serve as administrative judge.
The term of administrative judge shall be for a period of one (1) year beginning on the first day of January and ending on the last day of December. The responsibilities of administrative judge shall rotate annually, and in alphabetical sequence, from one division of court to the next with each judge having the option to decline to serve. In the event a judge declines to serve as administrative judge, the judge of the next division in the sequence shall be offered the position. The administrative judge shall be subject to removal by majority vote of the judges of the court.
General Responsibility of the Administrative Judge
The general responsibility of the administrative judge shall be to supervise and direct the administration of the court. These responsibilities include:
- Regulating and enforcing hours for court operation.
- Appointment of court committees.
- Preparation of recommended policies and plans and submission of such recommendations to the entire court or to other authorities as appropriate.
- Representation of the court in its relations with other branches of the government or with other courts and with the news media.
- Calling and presiding over meetings of the entire court.
- Coordinating vacation schedules for judges.
Approval of attendance by court personnel at conferences which require absence from the court during working hours. Direct and general supervision over court programs and employees through the Clerk/Judicial Administrator. Supervision of court finances, including financial planning, the preparation of budgets and fiscal reporting.
Any other responsibility imposed by law, rule of court or by action of the Court.
The administrative judge shall have the authority to carry out the responsibilities above listed and those inherent to the position.
The Court shall be divided into the following sections:
- Civil Trial Section
- Criminal Trial Section (including D.WI.)
- Duty Section Arraignment Section
- Traffic Trial Section
The judges shall rotate the general responsibility for these sections weekly, subject however, to such modification as circumstances may warrant. Current section assignments shall be maintained at the Office of the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator. Whenever the circumstances may require, the judge presiding over one section may also preside over another section, and, by mutual agreement among affected judges, they may either exchange duties or assist each other with their respective duties. For purposes of these rules, "judge" includes a duly appointed "pro tempore" and/or "arbitrator." The term "City Prosecutor" includes an "Assistant City Prosecutor."
Except as otherwise specifically provided herein, the Clerk/Judicial Administrator shall, upon the filing of any new civil proceeding and the payment of all costs chargeable thereto, immediately and publicly allot same to a division in a manner to insure random assignment.
Suits or proceedings not in their nature original but growing out of suits or proceedings previously pending (such as actions of nullity of judgment, or to restrain or regulate the execution of process, mesne or final, in suits previously pending) shall not be docketed as separate suits but shall be treated as parts of the original suits out of which they arise; shall be docketed and numbered as parts of such suits and shall follow the proper allotment or assignment to the respective division of the court. Whenever, by error or oversight, this rule shall be violated, the judge to whom the matter shall have been allotted may order the same transferred to the proper division, there to be consolidated with the original suit.
Whenever the Court en banc shall consider it in the interest of justice, it may order all or any of the cases previously allotted be regularly reallotted by chance or that they be reallotted to a particular division or divisions.
In a matter in which a judge has been ordered recused or in which he has recused himself, there shall be an immediate random re-allotment of same to a division over which said judge does not preside.
After a case has been allotted, it may be transferred for good cause from one division to another by an order signed first by the judge presiding over the division to which the case is being transferred; or upon an order rendered ex proprio motu by the Court sitting en banc. If the transfer is made of one or more cases to effect a consolidation for purposes of trial, the case or cases with the higher docket number(s) shall be transferred to the division in which the case with the lowest docket number was allotted. Upon the transfer of a case for any purpose, the division designation on the record jacket shall be made to conform, the Clerk's cost docket shall reflect the change, all additional pleadings are to bear the new division designation, and the transfer order or a copy thereof is to be filed in all affected records.
When a judgment is rendered by confirmation, the judge who rendered the judgment will handle subsequent motions relative to the disposition of the judgment. The case will then be returned to the section to which it was originally assigned. The judge who has begun a trial on the merits shall complete said trial and shall sign any judgment pertaining thereto.
Small Claims Division
Small Claims Division proceedings shall conform to the rules prescribed in La.R.S 13:5200 et seq. as supplemented by the Court.
Persons filing civil claims in the Small Claims Division in which the amount in dispute is three thousand dollars ($3,000) or less shall complete a form with the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator setting forth the nature of such claims which shall include a street address and phone number(s) where the claimant may be contacted during the pendency of the proceedings. Claims submitted by mail without claimants physical address shall be returned to sender.
Small claims cases shall be allotted in accordance with the procedure set forth above and shall be assigned for trial as directed by the judge presiding over the division to which allotted.
Criminal (including D.WI.)
Except as otherwise specifically provided herein, the division before whom a defendant is originally scheduled for arraignment shall preside over the case.
Any case having been allotted may be transferred from one division to another division upon written motion of the City Prosecutor or of the defendant or by the Court, on its own motion, for good cause, provided that such transfer is ordered in writing by the judge of the section from which and to which the case is transferred. Upon the recusal of a judge from a case allotted to his division, the case shall be reallotted randomly.
Traffic matters (including parking infraction proceedings) shall not be allotted to a division but rather shall be assigned for arraignment/trial based upon the citing officer's monthly OTA ("one time appearance") date, as hereinafter set forth. The judge presiding over the Arraignment Section shall take the plea and the judge presiding over the Traffic Trial Section shall try the case.
Except as otherwise provided in these rules or as required by special circumstances, the judge before whom a criminal, D.WI. or traffic case is ALLOTTED shall handle all matters incidental thereto, including, but not limited to hearings on motion for new trial and/or arrest of judgment, appeal, sentence, probation review, revocation hearing, contempt of court hearing and fine payment extension.
In instances where an individual has a scheduled court appearance on a single file and has outstanding bench warrants on other files, the judge presiding over that scheduled court appearance will process and assign all files to his/her docket, unless the file indicates otherwise.
In instances where an individual has multiple files with the same scheduled court appearance assigned to more than one section of court and has outstanding bench warrants on other files, the clerk's office will determine which section of court will handle the bench warrant files. The presiding judge over that section of court will process and assign all bench warrant files to his/her docket, unless the file indicates otherwise.
In instances where an individual makes a non-scheduled court appearance and has multiple bench warrant files, the Clerk of Court/Administrator will implement rules for addressing those matters which are consistent with the efficient operation of the Court. Said rules, prior to implementation, will be approved by the Judges.
In instances where only multiple early appearance files are involved, each judge will handle his/her own file.
In instances where a file has heretofore been handled administratively and has a bench warrant which requires action by a judge, the original arraignment date assigned by the police officer will be used to determine the appropriate judge to handle the file. If the judge who issued the bench warrant is not available, the offender will be given notice to appear the next court day. Sanity hearings shall be scheduled for hearing at least five (5) weeks from the date ordered and shall be heard by the judge ordering the hearing.
Rule 5-Signing of Pleadings, Motions & Other Papers
Every pleading, motion, or other paper presented for filing shall be signed personally by the local counsel in his or her individual name. Pleadings shall be accompanied by a certificate showing that a copy was delivered or mailed to the opposing counsel, or to the opposing litigant or litigants, if not represented by counsel. In addition, counsel's name, street address, post office box (if applicable), telephone number and attorney identification number shall be typed or printed under his signature. If the attorney is admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the attorney identification number shall be the same as the number assigned by the Supreme Court of Louisiana.
Documents filed by a party not represented by counsel shall be signed by the party and shall give the same information.
Each attorney and pro se litigant has a continuing obligation to apprise the Court of any address and/or telephone number change.
Rule 6-Duty Section
Hours - "Jail Callout" Hearings
The duty judge shall maintain regular office hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and shall be "on call" from 8 a.m. the Monday beginning his week of duty until 8 a.m. the Monday ending his week of duty. It shall be the responsibility of the duty judge to provide for a replacement during periods of his unavailability.
Arraignments-Prisoners not expected to make bond shall be scheduled for arraignment on the first work day ten (10) calendar days from the date of probable cause hearing.
Trials-Prisoners not expected to make bond shall be scheduled for trial throughout the week that the 14th calendar day falls from the date of arraignment except for cases which require a report from the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab; such cases shall be scheduled for trial not less than 150 days from the date of arraignment
When the trial of a prisoner on the Criminal/DWI docket is reassigned, it is to be reassigned to the presiding judge’s next rotation to that docket in 5 weeks.
Sentencings - Prisoners not expected to make bond shall be scheduled for sentencing 5 weeks after jail callout appearance, at a date when the presiding judge will again be on duty.
Sanity hearings shall be scheduled for hearing at least 5 weeks from the date ordered and shall be heard by the judge ordering the hearing.
Revocation hearing bench warrants will be handled by the assigned judge. All of the offender’s other bench warrants will be handled by the duty judge.
The Offices of City Prosecutor and Public Defender and private attorneys may appear at jail callout hearings as they deem advisable and appropriate.
City Jail Callout, Courtroom 309-at an appropriate time to be determined by the duty judge, the Constable’s Office will be notified by the bailiff to bring the prisoners in custody with pending contempt charges to the courtroom. The duty judge will handle all contempt matters unless, in the opinion of the judge, the contempt matter should be handled by the assigned judge. Reassigned cases are to be set on the docket of the judge who issued the bench warrant unless the duty judge hearing the contempt wants to keep it on his/her docket.
Conduct all necessary and appropriate actions associated with prisoner appearance bonds. A schedule of appearance (bail) bonds for misdemeanor offenses shall be adopted in accordance with La.C.Cr.P. Article 341, copies of which shall be maintained at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison booking desk, the City Jail and the office of the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator. In cases of persons held in custody upon bench warrants, the duty judge shall, to the maximum extent possible, take all appropriate action to move the case forward, and may, in the interest of justice, exercise adjudicative authority over cases allotted to other sections.
Authorize all search and arrest warrants. Handle cases that cannot be processed administratively when the judge to which the case is assigned is unavailable.
Conduct all evidentiary hearings on eviction rules, judgment debtor examination rules (and all bench warrant recalls on said rules), and default judgment confirmations requiring testimony. Otherwise, all interlocutory proceedings shall be handled by the judge presiding over the division to which the matter has been allotted.
Preside over small claims trials
Rule 7-Civil Trial Section
Motions that are expected to be contested shall be accompanied by succinct memoranda of authorities, normally not exceeding 2 pages. Opposing counsel may furnish memoranda of authorities, but, to be considered, such memoranda shall be filed with the appropriate judge at least 24-hours prior to the scheduled hearing.
Civil trial assignments shall be made upon the written request of a party and shall satisfy the following conditions:
Where the request is submitted by an attorney, the trial request letter shall contain a certificate that attests that, based upon a conference with all opposing counsel or parties, all discovery has been completed and the case is ready for trial. If an opponent is unrepresented and the party requesting trial has been unable to conduct the conference, the certificate should contain a reference to this fact.
Said letter shall also specify the probable total number of witnesses and estimated length of trial for each party.
Interrogatories propounded pursuant to L.C.C.P. 1457 et seq. shall not exceed fifteen (15) in number, including subparts. The Court, in its discretion, may by written order enlarge the number of interrogatories to be propounded. Any such request shall be by written motion directed to the judge who has been assigned the case, and shall have attached all interrogatories which are to be propounded.
If a motion to compel is filed pursuant to L.C.C.P. 1469, said motion shall identify as a ground either (1) that no responses have been timely filed, or (2) that the answers are insufficient or non-responsive. In the latter case, the motion shall specify each question and response to which the motion is directed or, the parties shall submit a copy of the interrogatories and answers.
Rule 8-Arraignment Section
The judge presiding over the arraignment section shall conduct all criminal, D.WI. and traffic initial appearance arraignments in accordance with the following policies:
Criminal (including D.WI.)
Unless otherwise so ordered, all criminal and accompanying traffic charges, and all D.WI. and accompanying traffic and/or criminal charges shall be scheduled for arraignment or bond returnable date in courtroom 128 at 9 a.m. EXACTLY sixty (60) days after the date of arrest or issuance of a misdemeanor summons or in accordance with the current Court Date Calendar for Non-OTA Tickets/Criminal/DWI (60 Day Rule Calendar). Computation of this period of time shall begin with the day after the violation as day number one, even if it is a holiday or weekend. If the sixtieth (60th) day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the appearance shall be scheduled for the next following legal day.
Arrests involving multiple felony and misdemeanor charges arising from the same set of facts shall be transferred in their entirety to the l9th Judicial District Court.
Criminal charges susceptible of prosecution as felonies shall be transferred to the l9th Judicial District Court with a dated transmittal receipt maintained in the City Court file.
Trials shall be assigned for the arraigning judge's trial docket, allowing at least three (3) weeks for issuance of subpoenas.
A schedule of prescribed fines and costs of court for the violation of certain minor municipal traffic ordinances ("fine schedule") shall be adopted, copies of which shall be maintained at the Baton Rouge City Court Criminal/Traffic Division, Room 145, 233 St. Louis Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Any person charged with a citation listed on the schedule along with a prescribed penalty may enter a plea of guilty (or, in the case of parking infractions, an "admission of liability" plea) by signing a declaration to that effect and paying the prescribed penalty by mail or in person at the Criminal/Traffic Division prior to the assigned court day. Otherwise, cited motorists shall appear in City Court on the date and time indicated on the traffic/parking summons. On that occasion, motorists charged with "one- time-appearance" (hereinafter referred to as "OTA") violations shall be arraigned and proceed to trial; motorists charged with other violations shall be arraigned and, if appropriate, assigned a trial date.
Unless otherwise so ordered, traffic offenses that accompany criminal and/or D.WI. charges shall be assigned for arraignment in accordance with Rule 8, A.l.
Unless otherwise so ordered, the following listed traffic offenses (which are also listed on the back of the violator's copy of the traffic citation as "Section A") shall be assigned for arraignment or bond returnable date in courtroom 128 at 8:30 a.m. EXACTLY sixty (60) days following issuance of arrest or in accordance with the current Court Date Calendar for Non-OTA Tickets/Criminal/DWI (60 Day Rule Calendar). Computation of this period of time shall begin with the day after issuance or arrest as day number one, even if it is a holiday or weekend. If the sixtieth (60th) day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the appearance shall be scheduled for the next following legal day:
- Driving under suspension/revocation
- Failure to report an accident
- Hit and run
The above listed violations require a court appearance for arraignment.
Unless otherwise so ordered, all other traffic offenses (excluding those identified in paragraphs 1 and 2 immediately above) shall be assigned for arraignment pursuant to the following policies which shall constitute the OTA System:
Traffic offenses specifically so designated in Sections A. and B. on the back of the violator’s copy require a court appearance for arraignment.
The penalty for traffic offenses or parking infractions NOT appearing in Sections A. and B. on the back of the violator’s copy may be paid at the City Court Criminal/Traffic Division according to the pre-set fine schedule on any day prior to the court date. If the penalty is not paid by the court date, a not guilty plea (or in the case of parking infractions, denial of liability) is assumed and the defendant is expected to appear in court for arraignment and/or trial on the assigned court date.
The court appearance date affixed by the issuing officer upon the citation, shall correspond to the officer’s nearest available, regularly assigned, monthly court date (hereinafter referred to as OTA date) no less than twenty-eight (28) days after date of issuance.
All officers who write OTA traffic citations for City Court must have an OTA date, and since no subpoenas issue in connection with the OTA System, must be personally and individually responsible for calling the City Court Criminal/Traffic Division at 389-3108 to verify that physical appearance is required on his OTA date. This requirement exists even though an officer may not have cited any motorists for court appearance on that day since reassignments (e.g. continuances, bench warrants, etc.) will be scheduled for that date. The name of each officer required to appear on his OTA date will be available by 5 p.m. the work day prior to his OTA date, and until 9 a.m. on his OTA date. In the event of a failure of the answering machine or the telephone line, a list of officers required to appear will be on file at the Criminal/Traffic Division of Baton Rouge City Court at 389-8430. (This procedure is established for OTA violations only and does not excuse an officer from a subpoenaed appearance. Call the number provided on the subpoena for verification of required subpoena appearance).
If an officer's name is accurately INCLUDED on the appearance required recording and he fails to appear on his OTA date, he will be reported to the City Police Chief for appropriate disciplinary action. Also, if his name was accurately EXCLUDED from the appearance required recording and he unnecessarily appears on his OTA date while off duty, he is not entitled to overtime payment.
The Criminal/Traffic Division of the City Court shall maintain and distribute a computerized list of names and IBM numbers of police officers and their assigned OTA date. Any change or requested change (whether temporary or permanent) in OTA date, regardless of the reason, must be immediately reported in writing to the City Prosecutor's Office and the City Court Criminal/Traffic Division by the City Police department(s) responsible for maintaining duty rosters.
Officers should not, as far as possible, schedule any conflicting activities (vacations, funeral escorts, examinations, other courts, etc.) on their OTA date. If tickets have already been assigned for appearance on a conflicting date for which absence has been approved by a judge, the officer must immediately bring this fact to the attention of the City Prosecutor's Office. If an officer's absence from his OTA date is for medical reasons, he should be prepared to furnish verification from a physician.
OTA tickets should not be issued for the following violations:
- D.WI. and accompanying traffic offenses
- Driving under suspension/revocation
- Failure to report an accident
- Hit and run
Traffic offenses accompanying criminal cases.
All OTA tickets shall be written for 8:30 a.m. court appearance and shall allow not less than twenty-eight (28) days between date of issuance and court date.
An annual schedule of legal holidays and "No Court" days shall be published approximately December 1st for the upcoming year. Officers shall not assign court appearances for these days. When an officer's OTA date falls on one of these designated legal holidays or "No Court" days, motorists' court appearances should be scheduled for the closest business day immediately preceding or following such date or for the officer's OTA date for the following month. Since no subpoenas issue in connection with the OTA System, the officer must be personally and individually responsible for calling the City Court Criminal/Traffic Division at 389-3108 to verify if his appearance is required on these dates. If an officer assigns an OTA ticket on a holiday or "No Court" day, he is responsible for notifying the violator of the new court appearance date assigned by the Court.
Only the issuing officer's name should appear on an OTA citation; his riding partner's name should not. If the issuing officer deems it appropriate or desirable to have witnesses other than himself at the trial of an OTA ticket, he should furnish the names and addresses to the office of the City Prosecutor at least fifteen (15) days before the scheduled trial so that subpoenas may be issued.
Officers reporting for court on their OTA date should check with the assistant city prosecutor in the arraignment courtroom (Room 128) to ascertain if they have any trials scheduled for that session of court. If no motorists to which an officer issued OTA citations appear in court within one (l) hour after the scheduled appearance time, that officer shall be released.
Any questions concerning these guidelines should be directed to the Senior Deputy Clerk of the Criminal/Traffic Division of Baton Rouge City Court.
Rule 9-Criminal Trial Section (including D.WI.)
Trials shall be assigned for the arraigning judge's trial docket, allowing at least three (3) weeks for issuance of subpoenas.
Rule 10-Traffic Trial Section
Except in extraordinary cases, when an OTA motorist appears on a bench warrant and desires a trial, or seeks continuance of a trial, the case will be reassigned for the officer's next OTA date. As far as practicable, all traffic court trial assignments and/or reassignments shall be scheduled for the citing officer's next OTA date.
A traffic case assigned for hearing to name attorney shall be heard by the judge who will try the case.
Rule 11-Withdrawal of Representation by Counsel
With the consent of all parties or their counsel, or prior to any adverse party filing a pleading or making an appearance, an attorney may, by ex parte order of the judge of the division in which the case is pending, be permitted to withdraw his representation of a litigant. Otherwise, an attorney may withdraw his representation of a party litigant only upon contradictory motion and hearing and for good cause shown. All opposing counsel are to be served with a copy of the motion and order to show cause why mover should not be permitted to withdraw. The Court shall not grant the motion if to do so would necessitate the reassignment of the case for trial.
An attorney who has been permitted by ex parte order to withdraw prior to an adverse pleading or appearance, shall give notice of same to all counsel who may thereafter plead in the case. In all cases of withdrawal, he shall advise the party he was previously representing, by certified mail, that he is no longer of counsel for him and shall further advise him of the status of the case on the Court's docket. Should a pretrial request be pending at the time a withdrawal is permitted, it shall be the further duty of withdrawing counsel to submit to the Court an amendment to the request clarifying the change in status.
Nothing in this Rule shall be construed to prevent the substitution of counsel for a litigant at any time provided the motion to substitute is signed by both the withdrawing attorney and the one to be enrolled.
Criminal (including D.WI.) & Traffic Proceedings
Written motions shall be filed and heard contradictory with the accused and City Prosecutor prior to trial, except in extreme circumstances, for good cause shown.
Civil & Criminal (including D.WI.)
Requests for continuance in civil and criminal proceedings shall, absent extraordinary circumstances, be filed not less than seven (7) days prior to a scheduled court date and shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Louisiana Code of Civil and Criminal Procedure. Continuance motions shall be directed to the division regularly assigned to preside over the section in which the matter is scheduled.
Requests for continuance of the trial of minor municipal traffic ordinance violations based upon the absence of the issuing police officer on his assigned court date shall not be granted except in extraordinary circumstances and for good cause shown. As far as practicable, all continuances of minor traffic ordinance violations shall be scheduled for trial on the issuing officer's next OTA date.
Civil, Criminal (including D.WI.) & Traffic
Requests for issuance of subpoenas shall be directed to the Clerk of City Court/Judicial Administrator IN WRITING (including both name and address of witness(es) not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the date upon which a trial or evidentiary hearing is to be held.
Rule 14-Night Court
Night court sessions shall be held at such intervals as the case load warrants. Each division shall schedule and adjudicate its own night court docket. The Clerk's Office shall not assign cases for night court.
Rule 15-Special Rules for Peace Officers
All peace officers reporting for court (whether on duty or off duty) are required to check-in on arrival and check-out on departure at the Criminal/Traffic counter, Room 145.