RS 13:713     

§713.  Commissioners; duties; powers; contempt

A.  Commissioners of the Nineteenth Judicial District Court shall perform such duties as are assigned to them by the chief judge of the district in accordance with rules which shall be prescribed by the elected judges of the court, not inconsistent herewith or with the constitution and laws of the state.  Such duties shall include but shall not be limited to hearing and recommendation of disposition of any civil or criminal matter which may be assigned by rule of court or by any judge of the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, and hearing and recommendation of disposition of criminal and civil proceedings arising out of the incarceration of state prisoners.  In such proceedings, the commissioners may hold hearings at the facilities where the state prisoners are incarcerated.  

B.  Over matters pending in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, commissioners shall have all powers of a district judge not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the state and the United States nor with the rules of the court and their assigned duties including but not limited to the powers to administer oaths and affirmations, take acknowledgements, affidavits and depositions, sign orders, act on felony and misdemeanor charges, hear preliminary motions, accept pleas in misdemeanor cases including misdemeanor cases preliminary to trial on the merits, conduct trials of misdemeanor cases, fix bail, and sign and issue search and arrest warrants upon probable cause being shown and in accordance with law.  A commissioner shall not have the power to adjudicate cases, except as provided in Subsection E of this Section and except to render and sign judgments and orders confirming judgments by default after receipt of proof sufficient to establish a prima facie case as required by law.  A commissioner may sign any and all orders which clerks of court are authorized to sign pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 283.  

C.(1)  When a case is referred to a commissioner by rule of court or assigned to a commissioner by a judge of the Nineteenth Judicial District, or has been allotted to a commissioner because the proceedings arise out of incarceration of state prisoners, the commissioner shall receive all evidence and prepare a written report of his findings which shall contain the following elements:

(a)  A statement of the pleadings.  

(b)  A statement of the facts as found by the commissioner.  

(c)  An opinion based on the pleadings and facts.  

(d)  A judgment as he determines should be rendered with the recommendation to the judge that it be made the judgment of the court.  

(2)  In such cases, the commissioner shall file his proposed findings and recommendations with the court, and a copy shall forthwith be mailed, postage prepaid, to all parties or their counsel of record.  

(3)  Any party, within ten days after transmittal of such copy, may traverse such findings or recommendations in writing in such manner as shall be specified by the rules of the district court.  

(4)  If exceptions are filed to the report within ten days, the judge may set them down for hearing and, at the most convenient time, may hear argument and decide the exceptions on the record as made before the commissioner.  

(5)  The judge may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part the findings or recommendations made by the commissioner and also may receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the commissioner with instructions.  

D.  A commissioner shall have the same powers as a judge to punish for contempt of court, as set forth in Code of Civil Procedure Articles 221 through 227.  

E.(1)  A commissioner may conduct any or all proceedings on any matter pending before the court and order the entry of judgment in any case where the parties consent to the matter being heard and adjudicated by the commissioner.  Each judgment so entered shall be signed by a judge of the district.  The clerk of court, at the time the action is filed, shall notify the parties of their right to consent to the exercise of such jurisdiction.  The decision of the parties shall be communicated to the clerk.  

(2)  An aggrieved party may appeal a judgment of the commissioner rendered pursuant to the authority of this Subsection in the same manner as an appeal from any other judgment of a district court.  

F.  The commissioner shall use the title of judge ad hoc in the performance of his duties under the provisions of this Section.  

G.  The commissioner shall rule on all matters of evidence in the same manner and in the same form as are prescribed by the constitution and laws of this state relative to judges of the district court for the Nineteenth Judicial District.  

H.  In those cases which are assigned to the commissioners under Subsection A of this Section, any pending exceptions, motions for summary judgment, or other incidental matters shall be heard by the commissioner to whom the case has been assigned, and all rulings and judgments on all such incidental matters may be signed by the district judge immediately upon receipt by him of the commissioner's recommendation without the necessity for compliance with the provisions of Subsection C of this Section.  

Added by Acts 1979, No. 62, §1, eff. June 22, 1979.  Acts 1983, No. 134, §1, eff. June 24, 1983; Acts 1986, No. 931, §1; Acts 1987, No. 599, §1; Acts 1988, No. 290, §1, eff. July 7, 1988.  

{{NOTE:  SEE ACTS 1988, NO. 290, §2.}}