Louisiana Court Records
New Orleans is the capital and location of all major courts and Louisiana court records in the state. With a rich history in both Spanish and French heritage, these records can date back to the early 19th century. Some historical documents also exist that date prior to Louisiana’s statehood in 1803.
As the highest court in the state, Louisiana’s Supreme Court offers a plethora of court records in the Louisiana Law Library in its building and online. Supreme Court decisions often determine future case outcomes by establishing precedent and interpreting the law as it applies to a certain types of case.
For the general public, Louisiana court records are an important resource when searching for information on a past civil or criminal case, or even divorce proceedings. Juvenile records and custody cases, adoptions and marriage licenses are also found in these volumes of court records.
History of Louisiana Court Records
After the Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana became a U.S. territory in 1803, and in 1804 Congress created a Superior Court to establish other courts in the state.
The Louisiana Law Library is located in New Orleans, and was established in 1838. It boasts 150,000 volumes, including all statutes for all states and court reports from the states and federal government.
Louisiana Court Records Availability
Louisiana court records for the Supreme Court and trial courts are available through the Louisiana Law Library and records custodians, located at the Supreme Court building in New Orleans. Most records are now available for online research and retrieval. Most commonly requested records include juvenile records, criminal and civil records. Divorce and marriage records are also requested for identity purposes and divorce hearings, as well as when requesting a new marriage license be issued by the state.
The Louisiana Law Library boasts historical records of the state’s constitution and statutes, court rules and forms, as well as several hundred legal periodicals. Louisiana court records of interest also include oral arguments, Supreme Court opinions and transcripts of legislative hearings. These records are often used by Supreme Court justices when drafting opinions, as well as attorneys preparing for court. The public can also use them as reference when representing themselves in court.
Main Court Information
As the highest appellate court in Louisiana, the Supreme Court is comprised of seven justices serving 10-year terms. They are elected to their seat in partisan elections. The Louisiana Supreme Court exercises discretionary jurisdiction in civil and criminal appeals. This has only been true since 1980, when jurisdiction over criminal appeals was given to the court of appeals. However, the Supreme Court must still hear cases which involve the death penalty.
The Louisiana Supreme Court receives a few thousand cases each year. In 2007, there were 2,645 filings and 2,497 dispositions. In 2013, there were 3,017 filings and 2,500 dispositions.