SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The repercussions following an electrical accident at the Caddo Parish Courthouse over the weekend continue to reverberate throughout Caddo Parish, from paying fines to obtaining protective orders.

A worker with a construction crew from an outside company accidentally drilled into an electrical power panel in the ceiling of the structure’s garage it not only critically injured him but took out electrical power throughout the nine-story structure that covers an entire city block in downtown Shreveport.

What that means is that in addition to having no lights or power running to the computers throughout the building, there’s also no heat, and Mike Spence, Caddo Clerk of Court isn’t sure just when it will be restored.

The Caddo Parish Commission is responsible for maintaining the building, and Spence said the wiring in the 96-year-old building is new, but there are other issues that need to be addressed and it may take some time for the parish and electricians to figure that out.

In the meantime, adjustments are being made to accommodate people doing business in the courts, but in some cases, such as sending documents by fax, it’s just not possible.

The following adjustments have been made:

  • People wishing to submit protective orders, emergency civil suits, or mortgages and/or conveyances may do so in person at the office of the Caddo Parish Juvenile Clerk of Court at 1835 Spring Street in Shreveport.
  • Attorneys may continue to file petitions, motions, etc., may do so by email, but cannot submit them by fax.
  • Caddo Parish couples to marry may take out marriage licenses in the Clerk of Court Offices in Bossier and De Soto Parishes.
  • Caddo Parish candidates wishing to qualify for Louisiana’s March 26 Municipal Primary Election Wednesday through Friday of this week may do so at the Juvenile Clerk of Court’s Office

On Friday, Caddo Parish Chief Judge Ramona Emanuel issued an order suspending all civil and criminal jury trials through March 1 due to the recent COVID-19 surge.

However, other issues before the civil and criminal courts were not suspended, but now, due to the closure of the courthouse have had to be either temporarily suspended and rescheduled, or handled in alternative ways.

Criminal Court adjustments are as follows:

  • Jail clearance,” or suspects’ initial court appearances will be held with the ‘duty judge’ for the week by zoom from Caddo Correctional Center to the duty judge.*
  • Arrest and search warrants: It is also the duty judge that decides whether law enforcement has complied enough evidence to indicate there is “probable cause” to issue search or arrest warrants. This also will continue by zoom.

*. It is at that initial hearing that the duty judge will ask the suspect if he or she can afford an attorney and if the defendant answers in the negative, appoints an attorney from the Public Defender’s office. Sometimes, but not always, a future court appearance is scheduled.

Other agencies housed inside the Caddo Parish Courthouse have made the following adjustments:

  • Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office (Courthouse Operations): Citizens can still pay fines and bonds online at www.caddosheriff.org or in person at CPSO substations. 
  • Taxes can still be paid online or by US Mail at the address listed on the tax notice.
  • The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s foreclosure sale set for Wednesday has been postponed; a new date will be announced later.

The Caddo Parish Tax Assessor’s Office:

  • Closed until the Courthouse is reopened.

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