More than 650 Louisiana justices of the peace and constables are expected to attend the Attorney General’s 45th Annual Training Conference, the largest training conference of Louisiana elected officials held each year. The training course, slated for March 3-6 at the Paragon Resort in Marksville, will provide the officials with information about their duties, jurisdiction, and other responsibilities associated with serving as a justice of the peace or constable.
“The Attorney General’s Office continues to expand the education, training, and courses offered to Louisiana’s justices of the peace and constables as part of their mandatory continuing education,” says Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. “With both newly-elected and veteran justices of the peace and constables in attendance, we look forward to providing an informative and productive learning experience on topics such as judicial ethics, arrest warrants and evictions.”
Louisiana’s justices of the peace and constables are required to stay abreast of changes in law. This year’s trainers included representatives from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office, Louisiana Board of Ethics, Louisiana Supreme Court, U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Attorney General’s criminal and civil divisions.
“Beyond their ability to perform marriages, many people aren’t quite sure what a justice of the peace does,” says Caldwell. “The important work they do includes handling a variety of small claims cases, usually for little or no cost. Without justices of the peace and constables, our legal system would literally be overwhelmed.”
Both constables and justices of the peace hold six-year terms. Constables serve citations and act as enforcement officers for the justice of the peace courts. Justices of the peace serve as judges within their ward or district and have jurisdiction in civil matters when the amount in dispute does not exceed $5,000. Justices of the peace may also perform marriage ceremonies.