§717. Commissioners for the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court
A. There are hereby created three offices of commissioner for the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court.
B. The commissioners shall be selected by a majority of the judges of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District and may be removed from office by a majority of those judges.
C. One of the commissioners shall have jurisdiction over civil matters involving domestic relations and family law only, one commissioner shall have jurisdiction over criminal matters only, and one commissioner shall have jurisdiction over domestic relations, family law, and criminal matters. Each of the commissioners shall have been admitted to the practice of law in this state for at least five years prior to his selection as commissioner and shall have been domiciled in the judicial district for the two years preceding his selection as commissioner.
D.(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the commissioners shall have all of the powers of a judge of a district court. The powers of the commissioners shall not be inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this state, the constitution and laws of the United States, the rules for Louisiana district courts, the rules of the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court, and the duties assigned to the commissioners by that court.
(2) The powers of the commissioners hearing criminal matters shall include but shall not be limited to the power to:
(a) Administer oaths and affirmations.
(b) Take acknowledgments, affidavits, and depositions.
(c) Sign orders.
(d) Act on felony charges through arraignment; however, commissioners shall not accept pleas of guilty on felony charges.
(e) Accept pleas on misdemeanor charges.
(f) Hear preliminary motions prior to filing the bill of information or indictment.
(g) Fix bail.
(h) Sign and issue search and arrest warrants in accordance with the general provisions of law, including the requirement of the showing of probable cause.
(i) Find and punish for contempt of court as a district court judge.
(3) No party shall be ordered to appear before the commissioner for arraignment more than twice prior to the filing of a bill of information or indictment against that party. Nothing in this Paragraph shall restrict the authority of the commissioner to subpoena a party to appear for arraignment after a bill of information or indictment has been filed against that party.
E. Repealed by Acts 2003, No. 714, §2.
F. The powers of the commissioners hearing domestic matters shall include but not be limited to the power to:
(1) Administer oaths and affidavits.
(2) Render and sign judgments and orders confirming judgments by default in accordance with the general provisions of law, including the requirement of introducing proof sufficient to establish a prima facie case.
(3) Grant uncontested divorces.
(4) Implement interim child support and custody orders as follows:
(a) A certified copy of such orders will be provided to the parties at the time of the court's ruling. If no objection is filed in writing with the district court judge having jurisdiction over the case, within three days of rendition and notification either by the commissioner or through service by the clerk of court, exclusive of weekends and holidays, the order shall become a final judgment of the court and shall be signed by a judge of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court and is appealable as any other final judgment.
(b) Any party who disagrees with a judgment or ruling of a commissioner may file a written objection thereto. The objection shall be filed within three days of the judgment or ruling being received by the party either from the commissioner or by service through the clerk of court and shall be filed in accordance with the rules of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court. The objection shall be heard by the judge of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court to whom the matter was originally allotted.
(c) The judge may decide the objection based on the record of the proceedings before the commissioner or may receive further evidence and rule based on that evidence, together with the prior evidence, or may recommit the matter to the commissioner with instructions.
(d) Every order given to the parties by the commissioner or served upon the parties by the clerk of court shall contain the following notice:
This order, if not contested in writing within three days of receipt from the commissioner or through service by the clerk of court, exclusive of weekends and holidays, will be signed by a judge of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court and will become a final judgment of the court.
(5) Approve consent judgments.
(6) Sign ex parte and emergency orders.
(7) Find and punish for contempt of court in the same manner as a district court judge.
(8) Handle preliminary disputes concerning discovery or the issuance of subpoenas.
(9) Adjudicate any other domestic matter not specifically excluded in Subsection G.
G. Except as provided in this Subsection, the domestic commissioners shall not have the power to adjudicate cases in a contested matter of divorce, custody, permanent spousal support, paternity, or partition of community property, unless the parties consent in writing to the jurisdiction of the commissioner. Each time an action is filed with the clerk of court for the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court, the clerk shall notify the parties to that action of their right to consent to jurisdiction by the commissioners. In each case in which all the parties provide a written waiver of their right to have their case heard by a district court judge, and provide written consent to the matter being heard and adjudicated by a commissioner, the commissioners may conduct any and all proceedings on any matter pending before the court and may order the entry of judgment in the case. Each judgment so recommended by a commissioner shall be signed by a judge of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District Court. Any party who is aggrieved by a judgment entered by a commissioner may appeal that judgment in the same manner as any other judgment entered by a district court.
H. The judges of the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court shall evaluate the commissioners annually and issue a report by June first of each year as to their effectiveness and the need for continuing the offices. The report shall be a public record.
Acts 1997, No. 824, §1, eff. July 10, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 946, §1, eff. July 9, 1999; Acts 2003, No. 714, §§1 and 2.