NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Louisiana Supreme Court has issued a moratorium on criminal and civil trials in all parishes until March 1 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.
The state's high court order Monday said local discretion will be allowed on whether to shut down trials currently underway.
The order does not impact pretrial matters, but the court ordered a continuation of social distancing and limits on how many people can be in courtrooms.
Grand jury sessions will not be impacted by the order.
The Louisiana Department of Health on Monday reported 1,402 new coronavirus cases and 45 new deaths. Confirmed cases in Louisiana stand at 312,290 and 7,489 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Monday's Supreme Court ruling will add to the backlog of cases awaiting trial. Caddo Parish, for example, had civil and criminal trials scheduled this week. Three of the five sections in criminal court had jury trials scheduled.
Courts are encouraged to hold remote proceedings by telephone, video, or other means that do not involve in-person contact as long as all parties and the judge agree.