Louisiana State Constitution (1974)/Part 2

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Constitution of the State of Louisiana
State of Louisiana
This Constitution was Updated through January, 2007, using the official version found at the LA State Senate website.
Preamble - Article III | Article IV - Article V | Article VI | Article VII | Article VIII - Article IX | Article X - Article XI | Article XII - Article XIV

Contents

ARTICLE IV. EXECUTIVE BRANCH[edit]

§1. Composition; Number of Departments; Reorganization[edit]

Section 1. (A) Composition. The executive branch shall consist of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, superintendent of education, commissioner of elections, and all other executive offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the state.
(B) Number of Departments. Except for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, all offices, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch and their functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities shall be allocated according to function within not more than twenty departments. The powers, functions, and duties allocated by this constitution to any executive office or commission shall not be affected or diminished by the allocation provided herein except as authorized by Section 20 of this Article.
(C) Reorganization. Reallocation of the functions, powers, and duties of all departments, offices, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch, except those functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities allocated by this constitution, shall be as provided by law.

§2. Qualifications[edit]

Section 2. To be eligible for any statewide elective office, a person, by the date of his qualification as a candidate, shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, be an elector, and have been a citizen of the United States and of this state for at least the preceding five years. In addition, the attorney general shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least the five years preceding his election. During his tenure in office, a statewide elected official shall hold no other public office except by virtue of his elected office.

§3. Election; Term[edit]

Section 3. (A) Election. Except as provided in Section 20 of this Article, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, superintendent of education, and commissioner of elections each shall be elected for a term of four years by the electors of the state at the time and place of voting for members of the legislature. The term of each such official shall begin at noon on the second Monday in January next following the election.
(B) Limitation on Governor. A person who has served as governor for more than one and one-half terms in two consecutive terms shall not be elected governor for the succeeding term.
(C) Additional Limitation. Except as provided by this constitution, no official shall be elected statewide.
(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution or of law to the contrary, statewide elected officials and members of the legislature elected in 1987 shall hold office from and after the second Monday in March, 1988. These statewide elected officials and any successor elected to the unexpired term of any of them shall serve for terms which shall expire at noon on January 13, 1992. These members of the legislature and any successor elected to the unexpired term of any of them shall serve for terms which shall expire at ten o'clock a.m. on January 13, 1992. Thereafter, statewide elected officials and members of the legislature shall be elected for terms of four years. For purposes of retirement, the statewide elected officials and members of the legislature elected in 1987 shall be deemed to be elected for a four-year term.
Acts 1986, No. 1082, §1, approved Sept. 27, 1986, eff. Oct. 30, 1986.

§4. Compensation[edit]

Section 4. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the compensation of each statewide elected official shall be provided by law.

§5. Governor; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 5. (A) Executive Authority. The governor shall be the chief executive officer of the state. He shall faithfully support the constitution and laws of the state and of the United States and shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.
(B) Legislative Reports and Recommendations. The governor shall, at the beginning of each regular session, and may, at other times, make reports and recommendations and give information to the legislature concerning the affairs of state, including its complete financial condition.
(C) Departmental Reports and Information. When requested by the governor, a department head shall provide him with reports and information, in writing or otherwise, on any subject relating to the department, except matters concerning investigations of the governor's office.
(D) Operating and Capital Budget. The governor shall submit to the legislature an operating budget and a capital budget, as provided by Article VII, Section 11 of this constitution.
(E) Pardon, Commutation, Reprieve, and Remission; Board of Pardons.

(1) The governor may grant reprieves to persons convicted of offenses against the state and, upon favorable recommendation of the Board of Pardons, may commute sentences, pardon those convicted of offenses against the state, and remit fines and forfeitures imposed for such offenses. However, a first offender convicted of a nonviolent crime, or convicted of aggravated battery, second degree battery, aggravated assault, mingling harmful substances, aggravated criminal damage to property, purse snatching, extortion, or illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities never previously convicted of a felony shall be pardoned automatically upon completion of his sentence, without a recommendation of the Board of Pardons and without action by the governor.
(2) The Board of Pardons shall consist of five electors appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Each member of the board shall serve a term concurrent with that of the governor appointing him.

(F) Receipt of Bills from the Legislature. The date and hour when a bill finally passed by the legislature is delivered to the governor shall be endorsed thereon.
(G) Item Veto.

(1) Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the governor may veto any line item in an appropriation bill. Any item vetoed shall be void unless the veto is overridden as prescribed for the passage of a bill over a veto.
(2) The governor shall veto line items or use means provided in the bill so that total appropriations for the year shall not exceed anticipated revenues for that year.

(H) Appointments.

(1) The governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the Senate, the head of each department in the executive branch whose election or appointment is not provided by this constitution and the members of each board and commission in the executive branch whose election or appointment is not provided by this constitution or by law.
(2) Should the legislature be in regular session, the governor shall submit for confirmation by the Senate the name of an appointee within forty-eight hours after the appointment is made. Failure of the Senate to confirm the appointment, prior to the end of the session, shall constitute rejection.
(3) If the legislature is not in regular session, the governor may make interim appointments, which shall expire at the end of the next regular session, unless submitted to and confirmed by the Senate during that session.
(4) A person not confirmed by the Senate shall not be appointed to the same office during any recess of the legislature.

(I) Removal Power. The governor may remove from office a person he appoints, except a person appointed for a term fixed by this constitution or by law.
(J) Commander-in-Chief. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the state, except when they are called into service of the federal government. He may call out these forces to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency.
(K) Other Powers and Duties. The governor shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1398, §1, approved Oct. 23, 1999, eff. Nov. 25, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1401, §1, approved Nov. 20, 1999, eff. Dec. 27, 1999.

§6. Lieutenant Governor; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 6. The lieutenant governor shall serve ex officio as a member of each committee, board, and commission on which the governor serves. He shall exercise the powers delegated to him by the governor and shall have other powers and perform other duties in the executive branch authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§7. Secretary of State; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 7. There shall be a Department of State. The secretary of state shall head the department and shall be the chief election officer of the state. He shall prepare and certify the ballots for all elections, promulgate all election returns, and administer the election laws, except those relating to voter registration and custody of voting machines. He shall administer the state corporation and trademark laws; serve as keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana and attest therewith all official laws, documents, proclamations, and commissions; administer and preserve the official archives of the state; promulgate and publish all laws enacted by the legislature and retain the originals thereof; and countersign and keep an official registry of all commissions. He may administer oaths, and shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§8. Attorney General; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 8. There shall be a Department of Justice, headed by the attorney general, who shall be the chief legal officer of the state. The attorney general shall be elected for a term of four years at the state general election. The assistant attorneys general shall be appointed by the attorney general to serve at his pleasure. As necessary for the assertion or protection of any right or interest of the state, the attorney general shall have authority

(1) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any civil action or proceeding;
(2) upon the written request of a district attorney, to advise and assist in the prosecution of any criminal case; and
(3) for cause, when authorized by the court which would have original jurisdiction and subject to judicial review,
(a) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any criminal action or proceeding, or
(b) to supersede any attorney representing the state in any civil or criminal action. The attorney general shall exercise other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or by law.

§9. Treasurer; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 9. There shall be a Department of the Treasury. The treasurer shall head the department and shall be responsible for the custody, investment, and disbursement of the public funds of the state, except as otherwise provided by this constitution. He shall report annually to the governor and to the legislature at least one month before each regular session on the financial condition of the state, and shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§10. Commissioner of Agriculture; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 10. There shall be a Department of Agriculture. The commissioner of agriculture shall head the department and shall exercise all functions of the state relating to the promotion, protection, and advancement of agriculture, except research and educational functions expressly allocated by this constitution or by law to other state agencies. The department shall exercise such functions and the commissioner shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§11. Commissioner of Insurance; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 11. There shall be a Department of Insurance, headed by the commissioner of insurance. The department shall exercise such functions and the commissioner shall have powers and perform duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§12. Commissioner of Elections; Powers and Duties[edit]

Section 12. There shall be a Department of Elections and Registration. The commissioner of elections shall head the department and shall administer the laws relating to custody of voting machines and voter registration. He shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.

§13. First Assistants; Appointment[edit]

Section 13. Each statewide elected official except the governor and lieutenant governor shall appoint a first assistant, subject to public confirmation by the Senate, and may remove him at his pleasure. The official shall submit the appointment to the Senate in the manner and subject to the procedures and limitations applicable to appointments submitted by the governor. The first assistant shall possess the qualifications required for election to the office.

§14. Vacancy in Office of Governor[edit]

Section 14. When a vacancy occurs in the office of governor, the order of succession shall be

(1) the elected lieutenant governor,
(2) the elected secretary of state,
(3) the elected attorney general,
(4) the elected treasurer,
(5) the presiding officer of the Senate,
(6) the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, and then
(7) as provided by law. The successor shall serve the remainder of the term for which the governor was elected.

§15. Vacancy in Office of Lieutenant Governor[edit]

Section 15. Should a vacancy occur in the office of lieutenant governor, the governor shall nominate a lieutenant governor, who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of the elected members of each house of the legislature. If the unexpired term exceeds one year, such person shall serve as lieutenant governor only until the office is filled as provided in Section 16(B) of this Article.
Amended by Acts 2006, No. 858, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Oct. 31, 2006.

§16. Vacancies in Other Statewide Elective Offices[edit]

Section 16. (A) A vacancy in a statewide elective office other than that of governor or lieutenant governor shall be filled by the first assistant. If the unexpired term exceeds one year, the first assistant shall serve only until the person elected as provided in Paragraph (B) of this Section takes office.
(B) If the unexpired term exceeds one year, the office shall be filled by election at the next regularly scheduled congressional or statewide election; however, if no such election date is available within one year of the vacancy, the office shall be filled by election at a special election called by the governor for such purpose.
Amended by Acts 2006, No. 858, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Oc. 31, 2006.

§17. Declaration of Inability by Statewide Elected Officials[edit]

Section 17. When a statewide elected official transmits to the presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives a written declaration of his inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the person who would succeed to the office when a vacancy occurs shall assume the powers and duties of the office as acting official.

§18. Determination of Inability of Statewide Elected Official[edit]

Section 18. (A) Declaration and Counter-Declaration. When a majority of the statewide elected officials determine that any other such official is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, they shall transmit a written declaration to this effect to the presiding officer of each house and to the official, and shall file a copy of the declaration in the office of the secretary of state. Thereafter, the constitutional successor shall assume the office as acting official unless, within forty-eight hours after the declaration is filed in the office of the secretary of state, the elected official files in that office and transmits to the presiding officer of each house his written counter-declaration of his ability to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his office.
(B) Determination by the Legislature. The legislature shall convene at noon on the third calendar day after the filing of any counter-declaration, which may be filed by the official at any time. Should two-thirds of the elected members of each house fail to adopt a resolution within seventy-two hours declaring probable justification for the determination that inability exists, the official shall continue in or resume office.
(C) Assumption of Office by Constitutional Successor. If two-thirds of the elected members of each house adopt a resolution declaring that probable justification exists for the declaration of inability, the constitutional successor shall assume the powers and duties of the office and a copy of the resolution shall be transmitted forthwith to the supreme court.
(D) Determination by Supreme Court. By preference and with priority over all other matters, the supreme court shall determine the issue of inability after due notice and hearing, by a majority vote of members elected to the court, under such rules as it may adopt.
(E) Reconsideration by Supreme Court. A judgment of the supreme court affirming inability may be reconsidered by the court, after due notice and hearing, either upon its own motion or upon the application of the official. Upon proper showing and by majority vote of its elected members, the court may determine that no inability then exists, whereupon the official shall immediately resume the powers and duties of his office.

§19. Temporary Absences[edit]

Section 19. When the governor is temporarily absent from the state, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor. When any other statewide elected official is temporarily absent from the state, the appointed first assistant shall act in his absence.

§20. Appointment of Officials; Merger, Consolidation of Offices and Departments[edit]

Section 20. After the first election of state officials following the effective date of this constitution, the legislature may provide, by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house, for appointment, in lieu of election, of the commissioner of agriculture, the commissioner of insurance, the superintendent of education, the commissioner of elections, or any of them. In that event, the legislature shall prescribe qualifications and method of appointment and by similar vote, may provide by law for the merger or consolidation of any such office, its department, and functions with any other office or department in the executive branch. No action of the legislature pursuant hereto shall reduce the term or compensation of any incumbent elected official. By law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house, the legislature may reestablish any such office as elective and, in that event, shall prescribe qualifications.

§21. Public Service Commission[edit]

Section 21. (A) Composition; Term; Domicile. There shall be a Public Service Commission in the executive branch. It shall consist of five members, who shall be elected for overlapping terms of six years at the time fixed for congressional elections from single member districts established by law. Each commissioner serving on the effective date of this constitution shall be the commissioner for the new district in which he resides and shall complete the term for which he was elected. The commission annually shall elect one member as chairman. It shall be domiciled at the state capital, but may meet, conduct investigations, and render orders elsewhere in this state.
(B) Powers and Duties. The commission shall regulate all common carriers and public utilities and have such other regulatory authority as provided by law. It shall adopt and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for the discharge of its duties, and shall have other powers and perform other duties as provided by law.
(C) Limitation. The commission shall have no power to regulate any common carrier or public utility owned, operated, or regulated on the effective date of this constitution by the governing authority of one or more political subdivisions, except by the approval of a majority of the electors voting in an election held for that purpose; however, a political subdivision may reinvest itself with such regulatory power in the manner in which it was surrendered. This Paragraph shall not apply to safety regulations pertaining to the operation of such utilities.
(D) Applications, Petitions, and Schedules; Protective Bond and Security.

(1) Within twenty days after a common carrier or public utility files a proposed rate schedule which would result in a change in rates, it shall give notice thereof by publication in the official state journal and in the official journal of each parish within the geographical area in which the schedule would become applicable.
(2) Within twelve months after the effective filing date, the commission shall render a full decision on each application, petition, and proposed rate schedule.
(3) After the effective filing date of any proposed schedule by a public utility which would result in a rate increase, the commission may permit the proposed schedule to be put into effect, in whole or in part, pending its decision on the application for rate increase and subject to protective bond or security approved by the commission. If no decision is rendered on the application within twelve months after such filing date, the proposed increase may be put into effect, but only if and as provided by law and subject to protective bond or security requirements, until final action by a court of last resort.
(4) If a proposed increase which has been put into effect is finally disallowed, in whole or in part, the utility shall make full refund, with legal interest thereon, within the time and in the manner prescribed by law.

(E) Appeals. Appeal may be taken in the manner provided by law by any aggrieved party or intervene or to the district court of the domicile of the commission. A right of direct appeal from any judgment of the district court shall be allowed to the supreme court. These rights of appeal shall extend to any action by the commission, including but not limited to action taken by the commission or by a public utility under the provisions of Subparagraph (3) of Paragraph (D) of this Section.

ARTICLE V. JUDICIAL BRANCH[edit]

§1. Judicial Power[edit]

Section 1. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, courts of appeal, district courts, and other courts authorized by this Article.

§2. Habeas Corpus, Needful Writs, Orders and Process; Contempt[edit]

Section 2. A judge may issue writs of habeas corpus and all other needful writs, orders, and process in aid of the jurisdiction of his court. Exercise of this authority by a judge of the supreme court or of a court of appeal is subject to review by the whole court. The power to punish for contempt of court shall be limited by law.

§3. Supreme Court; Composition; Judgments; Terms[edit]

Section 3. The supreme court shall be composed of a chief justice and six associate justices, four of whom must concur to render judgment. The term of a supreme court judge shall be ten years.

§4. Supreme Court; Districts[edit]

Section 4. The state shall be divided into at least six supreme court districts, and at least one judge shall be elected from each. The districts and the number of judges assigned to each on the effective date of this constitution are retained, subject to change by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature.

§5. Supreme Court; Jurisdiction; Rule-Making Power; Assignment of Judges[edit]

Section 5.(A) Supervisory Jurisdiction; Rule-Making Power; Assignment of Judges. The supreme court has general supervisory jurisdiction over all other courts. It may establish procedural and administrative rules not in conflict with law and may assign a sitting or retired judge to any court. The supreme court shall have sole authority to provide by rule for appointments of attorneys as temporary or ad hoc judges of city, municipal, traffic, parish, juvenile, or family courts.
(B) Original Jurisdiction. The supreme court has exclusive original jurisdiction of disciplinary proceedings against a member of the bar.
(C) Scope of Review. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the jurisdiction of the supreme court in civil cases extends to both law and facts. In criminal matters, its appellate jurisdiction extends only to questions of law.
(D) Appellate Jurisdiction. In addition to other appeals provided by this constitution, a case shall be appealable to the supreme court if (1) a law or ordinance has been declared unconstitutional or (2) the defendant has been convicted of a capital offense and a penalty of death actually has been imposed.
(E) Additional Jurisdiction until July 1, 1982. In addition to the provisions of Section 5(D) and notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5(D), or Sections 10(A)(3) and 10(C), the supreme court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction to decide criminal appeals where the defendant has been convicted of a felony or a fine exceeding five hundred dollars or imprisonment exceeding six months actually has been imposed, but only when an order of appeal has been entered prior to July 1, 1982 and shall have exclusive supervisory jurisdiction of all criminal writ applications filed prior to July 1, 1982 and of all criminal writ applications relating to convictions and sentences imposed prior to July 1, 1982.
(F) Appellate Jurisdiction; Civil Cases; Extent. Subject to the provisions in Paragraph (C), the supreme court has appellate jurisdiction over all issues involved in a civil action properly before it.
Amended by Acts 1980, No. 843, §1, approved Nov. 4, 1980, eff. July 1, 1982; Acts 1987, No. 945, §1, approved Nov. 21, 1987, eff. Dec. 24, 1987.

§6. Supreme Court; Chief Justice[edit]

Section 6. The judge oldest in point of service on the supreme court shall be chief justice. He is the chief administrative officer of the judicial system of the state, subject to rules adopted by the court.

§7. Supreme Court; Personnel[edit]

Section 7. The supreme court may select a judicial administrator, its clerks, and other personnel and prescribe their duties.

§8. Courts of Appeal; Circuits; Panels; Judgments; Terms[edit]

Section 8.(A) Circuits; Panels. The state shall be divided into at least four circuits, with one court of appeal in each. Each court shall sit in panels of at least three judges selected according to rules adopted by the court.
(B) Judgments. A majority of the judges sitting in a case must concur to render judgment. However, in civil matters only, when a judgment of a district court is to be modified or reversed and one judge dissents, the case shall be reargued before a panel of at least five judges prior to rendition of judgment, and a majority must concur to render judgment.
(C) Terms. The term of a court of appeal judge shall be ten years.
Amended by Acts 1980, No. 843, §1, approved Nov. 4, 1980, eff. July 1, 1982.

§9. Courts of Appeal; Circuits and Districts[edit]

Section 9. Each circuit shall be divided into at least three districts, and at least one judge shall be elected from each. The circuits and districts and the number of judges as elected in each circuit on the effective date of this constitution are retained, subject to change by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature.

§10. Courts of Appeal; Jurisdiction[edit]

Section 10.(A) Jurisdiction. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, a court of appeal has appellate jurisdiction of

(1) all civil matters, including direct review of administrative agency determinations in worker's compensation matters as heretofore or hereafter provided by law,
(2) all matters appealed from family and juvenile courts, and
(3) all criminal cases triable by a jury, except as provided in Section 5, Paragraph (D)(2) of this Article. It has supervisory jurisdiction over cases which arise within its circuit.

(B) Scope of Review. Except as limited to questions of law by this constitution, or as provided by law in the review of administrative agency determinations, appellate jurisdiction of a court of appeal extends to law and facts. In the review of an administrative agency determination in a worker's compensation matter, a court of appeal may render judgment as provided by law, or, in the interest of justice, remand the matter to the administrative agency for further proceedings. In criminal cases its appellate jurisdiction extends only to questions of law.
(C) Other Criminal Matters. In all criminal cases not provided for in Paragraph (D)(2) or Paragraph (E) of Section 5 or Paragraph (A)(3) of this Section, a defendant has a right of appeal or review, as provided by law.
Amended by Acts 1980, No. 843, §1, approved Nov. 4, 1980, eff. July 1, 1982; Acts 1990, No. 1098, §1, approved Oct. 6, 1990, eff. Nov. 8, 1990.

§11. Courts of Appeal; Certification[edit]

Section 11. A court of appeal may certify any question of law before it to the supreme court, and the supreme court then may give its binding instruction or decide the case upon the whole record.

§12. Courts of Appeal; Chief Judge[edit]

Section 12. The judge oldest in point of service on each court of appeal shall be chief judge of that court and shall administer the court subject to rules adopted by it.

§13. Courts of Appeal; Personnel[edit]

Section 13. Each court of appeal may select its clerk and other personnel and prescribe their duties.

§14. District Courts; Judicial Districts[edit]

Section 14. The state shall be divided into judicial districts, each composed of at least one parish and served by at least one district judge.

§15. Courts; Retention; Jurisdiction; Judicial District Changes; Terms[edit]

Section 15. (A) Court Retention; Trial Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. The district, family, juvenile, parish, city, and magistrate courts existing on the effective date of this constitution are retained. Subject to the limitations in Sections 16 and 21 of this Article, the legislature by law may abolish or merge trial courts of limited or specialized jurisdiction. The legislature by law may establish trial courts of limited jurisdiction with parishwide territorial jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction which shall be uniform throughout the state. Effective January 1, 2007, the legislature by law may establish new judgeships for district courts and establish the new divisions with limited or specialized jurisdiction within the territorial jurisdiction of the district court and subject matter jurisdiction over family or juvenile matters as provided by law. The office of city marshal is continued until the city court he serves is abolished.
(B) Judicial Districts. The judicial districts existing on the effective date of this constitution are retained. Subject to the limitations in Section 21 of this Article, the legislature by law may establish, divide, or merge judicial districts with approval in a referendum in each district and parish affected.
(C) Term. The term of a district, parish, or city court judge shall be six years.
(D) Number of Judges. The legislature may change the number of judges in any judicial district by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
Amended by Acts 2006, No. 862, §1, approved Nov. 7, 2006, eff. Dec. 11, 2006.

§16. District Courts; Jurisdiction[edit]

Section 16.(A) Original Jurisdiction.

(1) Except as otherwise authorized by this constitution or except as heretofore or hereafter provided by law for administrative agency determinations in worker's compensation matters, a district court shall have original jurisdiction of all civil and criminal matters.
(2) It shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of felony cases and of cases involving title to immovable property, except as provided in (3) below; the right to office or other public position; civil or political right; probate and succession matters; except for administrative agency determination provided for in (1) above, the state, a political corporation, or political subdivisions, or a succession, as a defendant; and the appointment of receivers or liquidators for corporations or partnerships.
(3) The legislature may provide by law that a family court has jurisdiction of cases involving title to movable and immovable property when those cases relate to the partition of community property and the settlement of claims arising from matrimonial regimes when such action arises as a result of divorce or annulment of marriage.

(B) Appellate Jurisdiction. A district court shall have appellate jurisdiction as provided by law.
Amended by Acts 1990, No. 1098, §1, approved Oct. 6, 1990, eff. Nov. 8, 1990; Acts 1993, No. 1040, §1, approved Oct. 1, 1994, eff. Nov. 3, 1994.

§17. District Courts; Chief Judge[edit]

Section 17. Each district court shall elect from its members a chief judge who shall exercise, for a term designated by the court, the administrative functions prescribed by rule of court.

§18. Juvenile and Family Courts; Jurisdiction[edit]

Section 18. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of Section 16 of this Article, juvenile and family courts shall have jurisdiction as provided by law.

§19. Special Juvenile Procedures[edit]

Section 19. The determination of guilt or innocence, the detention, and the custody of a person who is alleged to have committed a crime prior to his seventeenth birthday shall be pursuant to special juvenile procedures which shall be provided by law. However, the legislature may

(1) by a two-thirds vote of the elected members of each house provide that special juvenile procedures shall not apply to juveniles arrested for having committed first or second degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated rape, armed robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, attempted first degree murder, attempted second degree murder, forcible rape, simple rape, second degree kidnapping, a second or subsequent aggravated battery, a second or subsequent aggravated burglary, a second or subsequent offense of burglary of an inhabited dwelling, or a second or subsequent felony-grade violation of Part X or X-B of Chapter 4 of Title 40 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, involving the manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances, and
(2) by two-thirds vote of the elected members of each house lower the maximum ages of persons to whom juvenile procedures shall apply, and
(3) by two-thirds vote of the elected members of each house establish a procedure by which the court of original jurisdiction may waive special juvenile procedures in order that adult procedures shall apply in individual cases. The legislature, by a majority of the elected members of each house, shall make special provisions for detention and custody of juveniles who are subject to the jurisdiction of the district court pending determination of guilt or innocence.
Amended by Acts 1979, No. 801, §1, approved Oct. 27, 1979, eff. Dec. 1, 1979; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 152, §1, approved Oct. 1, 1994, eff. Nov. 3, 1994.

§20. Mayors' Courts; Justice of the Peace Courts[edit]

Section 20. Mayors' courts and justice of the peace courts existing on the effective date of this constitution are continued, subject to change by law.

§21. Judges; Decrease in Terms and Compensation Prohibited[edit]

Section 21. The term of office, retirement benefits, and compensation of a judge shall not be decreased during the term for which he is elected.

§22. Judges; Election; Vacancy[edit]

Section 22.(A) Election. Except as otherwise provided in this Section, all judges shall be elected. Election shall be at the regular congressional election.
(B) Vacancy. A newly-created judgeship or a vacancy in the office of a judge shall be filled by special election called by the governor and held within twelve months after the day on which the vacancy occurs or the judgeship is established, except when the vacancy occurs in the last twelve months of an existing term. Until the vacancy is filled, the supreme court shall appoint a person meeting the qualifications for the office, other than domicile, to serve at its pleasure. The appointee shall be ineligible as a candidate at the election to fill the vacancy or the newly-created judicial office. No person serving as an appointed judge, other than a retired judge, shall be eligible for retirement benefits provided for the elected judiciary.
(C) End of Term. A judge serving on the effective date of this constitution shall serve through December thirty-first of the last year of his term or, if the last year of his term is not in the year of a regular congressional election, then through December thirty-first of the following year. The election for the next term shall be held in the year in which the term expires, as provided above.
Amended by Acts 1983, No. 728, §1, approved Oct. 22, 1983, eff. Nov. 23, 1983.

§23. Judges; Retirement[edit]

Section 23.(A) Retirement System. Within two years after the effective date of this constitution, the legislature shall provide for a retirement system for judges which shall apply to a judge taking office after the effective date of the law enacting the system and in which a judge in office at that time may elect to become a member, with credit for all prior years of judicial service and without contribution therefor. The retirement benefits and judicial service rights of a judge in office or retired on the effective date of this constitution shall not be diminished, nor shall the benefits to which a surviving spouse is entitled be reduced.
(B) Mandatory Retirement. Except as otherwise provided in this Section, a judge shall not remain in office beyond his seventieth birthday. A judge who attains seventy years of age while serving a term of office shall be allowed to complete that term of office.
Acts 2003, No. 1296, §1, approved Oct. 4, 2003, eff. Jan 1, 2004.

§24. Judges; Qualifications[edit]

[Effective Date: Text of Section effective until January 1, 2008.]
Section 24. A judge of the supreme court, a court of appeal, district court, family court, parish court, or court having solely juvenile jurisdiction shall have been admitted to the practice of law in this state for at least five years prior to his election, and shall have been domiciled in the respective district, circuit, or parish for the two years preceding election. He shall not practice law.

§24. Judges; Qualifications[edit]

[Effective Date: Text of Section effective on January 1, 2008.]
Section 24. (A) A judge of the supreme court, a court of appeal, district court, family court, parish court, or court having solely juvenile jurisdiction shall have been domiciled in the respective district, circuit, or parish for one year preceding election and shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least the number of years specified as follows:

(1) For the supreme court or a court of appeals - ten years.
(2) For a district court, family court, parish court, or court having solely juvenile jurisdiction - eight years.

(B) He shall not practice law.
Amended by Acts 2006, No. 860, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.

§25. Judiciary Commission[edit]

Section 25.(A) Composition. The judiciary commission shall consist of

(1) one court of appeal judge and two district court judges selected by the supreme court;
(2) two attorneys admitted to the practice of law for at least ten years and one attorney admitted to the practice of law for at least three years but not more than ten years, selected by the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges or its successor. They shall not be judges, active or retired, or public officials, other than notaries public; and
(3) three citizens, not lawyers, judges active or retired, or public officials, selected by the Louisiana District Judges' Association or its successor.

(B) Term; Vacancy. A member of the commission shall serve a four-year term and shall be ineligible to succeed himself. His term shall end upon the occurrence of any event which would have made him ineligible for appointment. When a vacancy occurs, a successor shall be appointed for a four-year term by the authority which appointed his predecessor.
(C) Powers. On recommendation of the judiciary commission, the supreme court may censure, suspend with or without salary, remove from office, or retire involuntarily a judge for willful misconduct relating to his official duty, willful and persistent failure to perform his duty, persistent and public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, conduct while in office which would constitute a felony, or conviction of a felony. On recommendation of the judiciary commission, the supreme court may disqualify a judge from exercising any judicial function, without loss of salary, during pendency of proceedings in the supreme court. On recommendation of the judiciary commission, the supreme court may retire involuntarily a judge for disability that seriously interferes with the performance of his duties and that is or is likely to become permanent. The supreme court shall make rules implementing this Section and providing for confidentiality and privilege of commission proceedings.
(D) Other Disciplinary Action. Action against a judge under this Section shall not preclude disciplinary action against him concerning his license to practice law.

§26. District Attorneys[edit]

Section 26.(A) Election; Qualifications; Assistants. In each judicial district a district attorney shall be elected for a term of six years. He shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least five years prior to his election and shall have resided in the district for the two years preceding election. A district attorney may select assistants as authorized by law, and other personnel.
(B) Powers. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, a district attorney, or his designated assistant, shall have charge of every criminal prosecution by the state in his district, be the representative of the state before the grand jury in his district, and be the legal advisor to the grand jury. He shall perform other duties provided by law.
(C) Prohibition. No district attorney or assistant district attorney shall appear, plead, or in any way defend or assist in defending any criminal prosecution or charge. A violation of this Paragraph shall be cause for removal.

§27. Sheriffs[edit]

Section 27. In each parish a sheriff shall be elected for a term of four years. He shall be the chief law enforcement officer in the parish, except as otherwise provided by this constitution, and shall execute court orders and process. He shall be the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law. This Section shall not apply to Orleans Parish.

§28. Clerks of Court[edit]

Section 28.(A) Powers and Duties; Deputies. In each parish a clerk of the district court shall be elected for a term of four years. He shall be ex officio notary public and parish recorder of conveyances, mortgages, and other acts and shall have other duties and powers provided by law. The clerk may appoint deputies with duties and powers provided by law and, with the approval of the district judges, he may appoint minute clerks with duties and powers provided by law.
(B) Office Hours. The legislature shall establish uniform statewide office hours for clerks of the district courts.

§29. Coroners[edit]

Section 29. In each parish a coroner shall be elected for a term of four years. He shall be a licensed physician and possess the other qualifications and perform the duties provided by law. The requirement that he be a licensed physician shall be inapplicable in any parish in which no licensed physician will accept the office.

§30. Vacancies[edit]

Section 30. When a vacancy occurs in the following offices, the duties of the office, until it is filled by election as provided by law, shall be assumed by the persons herein designated:

(1) sheriff, by the chief criminal deputy;
(2) district attorney, by the first assistant;
(3) clerk of a district court, by the chief deputy;
(4) coroner, by the chief deputy.

If there is no such person to assume the duties when the vacancy occurs, the governing authority or authorities of the parish or parishes concerned shall appoint a qualified person to assume the duties of the office until filled by election.

§31. Reduction of Salaries and Benefits Prohibited[edit]

Section 31. The salary and retirement benefits of an attorney general, district attorney, sheriff, coroner, or clerk of the district court shall not be diminished during his term of office.

§32. Orleans Parish Courts, Officials[edit]

Section 32. Except for provisions relating to terms of office as provided elsewhere in this Article, and notwithstanding any other contrary provision of this constitution, the following courts and officers in Orleans Parish are continued, subject to change by law; the civil and criminal district courts; the city, municipal, traffic, and juvenile courts; the clerks of the civil and criminal district courts; the civil and criminal sheriffs; the constables and the clerks of the first and second city courts; the register of conveyances; and the recorder of mortgages.

§33. Jurors[edit]

Section 33.(A) Qualifications. A citizen of the state who has reached the age of majority is eligible to serve as a juror within the parish in which he is domiciled. The legislature may provide additional qualifications.
(B) Exemptions. Persons who are seventy years of age or older shall be exempt from jury service and may decline to serve as jurors, but may elect to serve as jurors if they meet the other qualifications for service as jurors. The supreme court shall provide by rule for other grounds for the exemption of jurors. Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1406, §1, approved Nov. 20, 1999, eff. Dec. 27, 1999.

§34. Grand Jury[edit]

Section 34.(A) Grand Jury. There shall be a grand jury or grand juries in each parish, whose qualifications, duties, and responsibilities shall be provided by law. The secrecy of the proceedings, including the identity of witnesses, shall be provided by law.
(B) Right to Counsel. The legislature may establish by law terms and conditions under which a witness may have the right to the advice of counsel while testifying before the grand jury.


NOTES[edit]