A judge is the lead official who presides over a court of law. The judge conducts trials impartially and in an open court. He/She hears all witnesses and evidence presented by the parties of the case and issues a ruling on the matter at hand. In some cases the parties elect to have a trial by jury. In those instances, the judge’s power is shared, the judge instructs the jury on the law applicable to the case and the jury decides the case based on the facts.
Louisiana has a Supreme Court, five courts of appeal, 42 district courts, five family or juvenile courts, 50 city courts and three parish courts, with a total of more than 375 judges.
The Louisiana trial court of general jurisdiction is District Court. Judges in District Court have the authority to handle virtually all civil and criminal cases. Criminal cases are violations of state and local law that result in misdemeanor or felony charges. It is the purpose of the District Court to hear the case and determine guilt or innocence. Civil cases cover essentially anything that is not a criminal case. Civil cases involve actions to protect, preserve or restore private rights, to make a party whole again. Some of the civil cases heard by the Court involve property, money, personal injury and domestic issues.
There are 16 judges on the 24th Judicial District Court. The 24th JDC judges are elected by voters of Jefferson Parish. The term of office for a district judge is six years. The judges elect one of the sixteen to act as the chief judge. The chief judge serves for a period of two years. The chief judge oversees the day-to-day operations of the court, presides over judges meetings and is in charge of committee assignments of the other judges.