Doors to the Bossier Parish Courthouse will be open to the public Monday, May 18 at 8 a.m., and precautions will be in place that will follow Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mandates due to concerns over COVOD 19.
All agencies in the courthouse will be open under guidelines set to establish personal safety for visitors and staff.
All persons entering the courthouse will be required to wear masks, and each person will have their temperature taken by a non-contact method. Those measuring a temperature of 100 will not be allowed to enter.
If a person does not have a mask, one will be provided. Individuals who refuse to wear masks will not be allowed to enter. Social distancing will be observed.
Staff persons in the various offices who come into contact with the public will also be required to wear masks for their safety and that of the public.
Courthouse offices will observe suggested 25 percent occupancy regulations.
Courtrooms of the 26th Judicial Court will resume activities at 9 a.m. Monday in both civil and criminal divisions with rules in place to help assure the safety of persons with business before the courts.
For criminal cases, individuals will report to bailiffs at the front door and will be directed to the proper court. A limit of 25 persons will be allowed in each courtroom. Those present may include only the person or persons appearing, witnesses and attorneys.
Those not admitted to the court but awaiting an appearance will be placed in the Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting room on the first floor. If more than 100 persons are on criminal dockets, court sessions will be conducted in the morning and afternoon.
Jail defendants will continue to be processed by video communication. All jury trials have been cancelled by the Louisiana Supreme Court until the end of June.
Civil, non-support and protective order cases will be following a different set of standards. A temporary building will be set up in the courthouse’s west parking lot where persons scheduled for court must report to be processed.
There, individuals will be directed to the proper locations in the courthouse, or will be given pagers and asked to wait in their vehicles. Those pagers will deliver a text message that will instruct individuals when and where to report. Signage will be placed outside the courthouse to help direct individuals to the proper location.
Civil court cases may also be conducted by video via ZOOM if parties are unable to appear in person. In order to do so, the attorney for the individual must contact the court to make proper arrangements.
“We understand these changes will put an additional burden on everyone during these trying times, and we ask that each person be patient as we move ahead,” said Bossier Parish Police Jury President Jimmy Cochran. “We’re all in this together and by cooperating with one another, we’ll make it.”