Courtrooms reopen with significant physical adaptations

Pews in the courtroom gallery are marked with tape for seating that adheres to the social distancing guidelines. Only 32 people will be allowed in the courtroom, including the judge, attorneys, participants, witnesses and interested parties.

In person cases resume, yet virtual cases continue

By Juanice Gray,

We can now choose whether to eat at a restaurant or go shopping with the Phase 1 Proclamation, but in most instances, people don’t get to choose whether they go to court.

The legal system has been operating via Zoom and other conferencing tools with judges, litigants and attorneys in separate locations, but as of May 18, as the guidelines are lessened, courtrooms are returning to a more traditional setting…well, in what is deemed the new normal.

The 10th Judicial District Courtroom in Natchitoches will look similar and the proceedings will be by the book, however there will be some significant changes. “We had our first in-person criminal court proceedings on Tuesday. Because of the preparations completed in the courtroom to protect everyone and to manage the number of people in attendance, we had a successful opening day. Everyone was prepared and organized to proceed in accordance with the new guidelines established. This was a positive step forward in ensuring that the justice system continues to work safely for all in our parish,” said District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington.

For the full story, pick up a copy of our weekend, May 23-24 print edition or click below to view our E-edition.


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