Louisiana Court of Appeal
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Justin Woods received his undergraduate and law degree from Loyola University of New Orleans in 1989 and 1996, respectively.
Prior to his appointment as Clerk of Court, Mr. Woods was a practicing attorney in New Orleans representing both public and
private clients in various litigation matters throughout his years of practice with The Woods Law Group, L.L.C., Gainsburgh,
Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. and The Murray Law Firm, L.L.C.
Mr. Woods is a member of the National, American, Louisiana and New Orleans bar associations.
He is a fellow of the American and Louisiana bar foundations. He currently serves as the Vice-President of the Greater
New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society. He is currently a board member of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action
Center and a board member and past President of CASA of New Orleans. He is a past board member of the New Orleans
Bar Association and past board member and Chair of the Pro Bono Project. Mr. Woods is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha
Fraternity, Incorporated. He has received numerous awards and honors, most notably including: the New Orleans Chapter of
the Alliance for Good Government 2011 Civic Involvement Award, the Pro Bono Project 2012 Friend of Pro Bono Award and the
Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society 2014 President’s Award.
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The Judicial System of Louisiana  began in 1712 with the creation of a Superior Council with executive and judicial powers from a French Charter.
In 1769 the Cabildo, who appointed judges of a general jurisdiction, following Spanish judicial custom, replaced the Superior Council.
From 1803 to 1804, Governor C. C. Claiborne was vested with the power of the Court of the last resort in both civil and criminal matters.
In 1804, the United States Congress created the Superior Court, of general jurisdiction.
Shortly thereafter the Legislative Council established courts with criminal jurisdiction and jury trials, replacing Governor Claiborne’s judicial authority.
In 1812, Louisiana became a state and adopted a Constitution, which created a Supreme Court, the only appellate court in the state, its jurisdiction being limited to civil appeals.
The Constitution of 1845 gave the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction in criminal and civil cases.
Prior to 1879, there were no intermediate appellate courts in Louisiana.
Courts of appeal were created by the Constitution of 1879 in order to mitigate docket congestion and delay in the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Constitution of 1879 created six courts of appeal, one of which was designated the Court of Appeal for the parish of Orleans, that presided over civil cases only.
The rest if the state was divided into five circuits, numbered from one to five, with a Court of Appeal created for each.
The Orleans Courts of Appeal’s jurisdiction was limited both geographical and by jurisdictional amount.
The court heard appeals from the lower courts in Orleans Parish, with a further limitation that civil and probate cases heard by the court were confined to those
involving matters in dispute valued at greater than $200 but equal to or less than exactly $1000. An additional clause provided that “Said appeals shall be upon questions
of law alone in all cases involving less than five hundred dollars, exclusive of interest, and upon the law and the facts in other cases.”
The right to review de novo factual issues was based on the civil law method from France and Spain.
Judges of the Orleans Court of Appeal were elected by the two houses of the General Assembly in joint session until 1898.
The small jurisdictional amount requirement proved limited in practice. Therefore, the Louisiana legislature in 1884 amended the jurisdictional amount to allow
appeals in cases involving matters in dispute valued at at least $100, but equal to or less that $2000.
Judicial staffing and procedures of the original court were unusual. Initially, the Court of Appeal for the Parish of Orleans was comprised of two judges.
When both judges agreed their decision was a final judgment. However, when the judges disagreed, the judgment of the lower court was affirmed.
Because this procedure was obviously unsatisfactory, an amendment to the 1884 Constitution was passed, providing that when two judges disagreed,
they were required to select and appoint a lawyer, who possessed the qualifications for a judge of the Court of Appeal to act as the third judgment and resolve the conflict.
Subsequently, approval by two judges became a final judgment.
Eventually, it became apparent that the territorial and jurisdictional limitations in the Court of Appeal were inefficient and expensive to operate.
The Constitution of 1898 enlarged the Court of Appeal for the Parish of Orleans to three judges, who would be elected by voters within the circuit,
and increased the geographical jurisdiction to include civil appeals from the Parishes of Jefferson, St. Charles, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard, in addition to those
from the Parish of Orleans. The Constitution also provided for civil appellate jurisdiction over the City Court of New Orleans
and that all such appeals “Shall be tried de novo, and the judges of the Court of Appeal may provide rules that one or more of the judges shall try such cases,
which they shall be authorized to decide immediately after trial, and without written opinion.” The procedure of a de novo,
single judge trial, for small claims, was quintessentially European.
In 1906, the Court’s territorial jurisdiction was further expanded to include the Parishes of St. James and St. John the Baptist,
a total of 7 parishes.
The Constitution of 1921 implemented significant changes to expand the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal. The judges were elected to twelve-year terms of office.
Jurisdiction was extended to all civil appeals for damages for injuries or death, regardless of the amount in dispute, as well as all suits for worker’s
compensation under any State of Federal Compensation Act.
Prior to this time most of these appeals were direct to the Louisiana Supreme Court because of jurisdictional amount.
In 1958, it became apparent that the Louisiana Supreme Court could no longer manage its docket without significant delay. Therefore, a number of radical changes to the
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal were enacted by Constitutional amendments, to take effect in 1960. Those changes provided for a major
reallocation of appellate authority between the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. A fourth Court of Appeal was added to the existing three.
With few exceptions, all civil appeals without limitation were allowed to proceed directly to the Courts of Appeal, and that by Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal for the Parish of Orleans eliminated the single judge de novo appeal from the City Court of Orleans; instead, those appeals would be treated like
any civil appeal. However, the Supreme Court would continue to have general exclusive criminal jurisdiction over all criminal appeals in every other conviction in
which a fine of $500 or a sentence of more than six months was imposed.
In 1960, the name of the Court was changed from the Court of Appeal for the Parish of Orleans to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal for the State of Louisiana.
Its domicile was and is the City of New Orleans.
Eventually, the new system proved unworkable because of the explosion of criminal appeals to the Supreme Court. The Louisiana Constitution was amended in 1980,
effective July 1, 1982, transferring all criminal appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court to the Courts of Appeal, except in cases where the death penalty
has actually been imposed. The Supreme Court retained jurisdiction to review judgments by writ application of the Courts of Appeal in both civil and criminal cases.
The 1980 legislation divided the Fourth Circuit into two parts. The parishes of Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines remained in the Fourth Circuit,
while the Parishes of Jefferson, St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist were transferred to the newly created Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal,
located in Gretna, Louisiana. The 1982 legislation also increased the number of Fourth Circuit judges from six to twelve. The Court is currently composed of
two judges elected from the large population of the three parishes, one each from St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish, and eight from Orleans Parish.
To date 62 judges have served on either the Court of Appeal for the Parish of Orleans or the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
By Retired Judge Steven R. PLotkin
Retired Judge, Louisiana Court of Appeal
New Orleans, Louisiana
 Michael Savicki, my Tulane Law School extern, was indispensable in researching this history.
 Id. Arts. 95-106(1879)
 Id. Art. 101(1879)
 La. Const. Art. 131 (1898)
 Id. Art. 134 (1898)
 La. Acts 1906, No. 137, adopted La. Const. (1906)
 La. Const. Art. VII 610,29 (1921)
For more information on the Louisiana Judicial Courts, feel free to download the Louisiana Judicial Branch Overview.
Louisiana Judicial Branch Overview
Location and Hours
Monday through Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (except holidays)
3rd Floor, 400 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
410 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130-2199
Telephone: (504) 412-6001
Facsimile: (504) 412-6019
Meet the Judges
New Orleans, LA
Marie Soniat McKay
1960-1964 DeLaSalle High School; 1964-1969 University of Southwestern Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana B.A. DEGREE in History (Minors in English and Political Science); 1969-1974 Loyola University of the South (School of Law) New Orleans, Louisiana JURIS DOCTORATE DEGREE
1971-1974 Adult Probation and Parole Officer; 1974-1978 Assistant District Attorney, District Attorney’s Office Orleans Parish Senior Trial Attorney for several Sections of the Criminal District Court and later Senior in Screening Division; 1978-1982 Chief Prosecutor of the Criminal Division for the Metropolitan Office of the State Attorney General’s Office; 1982-1998 Elected to the Criminal District Court bench on December 12, 1982. Re-elected to every six year term to 1998. Handling of major felonies in Orleans Parish from capital cases to misdemeanors; 1996 to present - Elected to the Board of Governors of the American Judges Association; 1997 Appointed to the Executive Committee of the Louisiana District Judges Association; 1998- to present Elected to Louisiana Court of Appeal 4th Circuit on March 7, 1998
American Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, Fourth and Fifth Circuit District Judges Association, American Judges Association (President), Francophone Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association, American Judicature Society
President of Firemen’s Charitable and Benevolent Association since 2000, Knights of Columbus (St. Dominic Council), Ancient Order of Hibernians (National Treasurer, 2008-2010), De LaSalle Alumni Association (current board member and past president) Honorary Consul General of Ireland for the State of Louisiana
Jasmine Love and Ellria Hall
Judge Terri F. Love is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She is married to Ellria Love, and has a daughter, Jasmine, and a stepson, Ellria Hall. Judge Love graduated in 1983 from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She received a Juris Doctor from Tulane University School of Law in 1986 and was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar in April of 1987. In 2004, Judge Love received her Master of Laws degree in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia. Later, in 2007, Judge Love was selected to attend the International Judicial Academy, where she studied international law at The Hague, Netherlands.
Judge Love began her legal career in New Orleans with the firm of Bryan and Gray, where, among other things, she represented the Orleans Parish School Board in tort litigation. In 1990, Judge Love established a private law practice; she represented clients in all areas of law and specialized in family law. In 1993, she was appointed Judge Ad Hoc by the judges of the Juvenile Court of Orleans Parish. The following year, Mayor Marc Morial appointed her Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. During her tenure, Judge Love was the lead author of the city’s first domestic violence ordinance. In October 1995, Judge Love was elected to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. In September 2000, she was elected to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, unopposed. Again unopposed, in August 2004, Judge Love was re-elected to serve a ten-year term. A continuing student of the law, Judge Love has completed the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Appellate Judges and the George Mason School of Law Collegium. She is an active lecturer in various continuing legal education programs and has served as a Trial Advocacy Instructor at the Louisiana State University School of Law. She has also acted as an adjunct professor at Miles College Law School.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Judge Love coordinated the development and implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s Disaster Preparation, Continuity of Operations Plan. She is currently spearheading the Court’s transition to an environmentally friendly paperless e-file system.
Judge Love is a member of the Louisiana State Bar, the Louisiana State Bar Foundation, the National Bar Association, the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, the American Judges Association, New Orleans Bar Association Inn of Court, and the National Association of Women Judges. Judge Love is a member of the Greater Saint Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church. Her dedication to providing, cultivating, and encouraging service to the community is continuous, as she is an active member of the Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also serves as the Vice President of the New Orleans Chapter of The Links, Inc.
Judge Love is committed to the education of our youth. She has served on the Xavier University Preparatory School’s Board of Directors, Jackson State University’s Development Board, and also served as the inaugural chair of the Jackson State University Woman’s Philanthropy Board. Judge Love also serves as a mentor and advisor with programs committed to collegiate education of the youth of New Orleans namely, the Urban League College Track, Young Leadership Council’s College Admission Program (CAP) and “Sistah to Sistah” of the McDonald’s Corporation.
In addition to the numerous community awards that Judge Love has received, in May 2004, she was bestowed with the prestigious Ernest N. Morial, Judicial Pacesetter Award, presented by the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society. In that same year, she was appointed to serve on the board of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division Appellate Judges Conference.
Xavier Preparatory High School, Tulane University 1964-1967 (Rockefeller Scholar), Southern University Law School 1967-1968, Loyola University Law School 1968-1970 (Roosevelt Fellow)
Appointed Supernumerary Judge pro tempore of Criminal District Court for Orleans Parish by the Louisiana Supreme Court, January 2006, Judge, 4th Circuit Court of Appeal took office January 2003 still serving, Clerk of Criminal District Court from 1974-2003, Served as the Chief Election Officer for Orleans Parish and has been involved in elections throughout the world.
Involved in writing laws and procedures in such historic events as the Dayton Peace Accord Bosnia), Indonesia Presidental Election and South African local elections, Honor of lecturing Criminal Court Judges at the University of Canto Domingo on the establishment of a criminal court record keeping system,Completed the New York University School of Law Institute for Appellate Judges, attended the George Mason School of Law and Economics Colloquium and AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies Economic Institute for Appellate Judges.
Past President of Algiers-Fischer Community Organization, Past Board Member of New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation, Past Board Member of TOTAL Community Action Inc., Established Legal Office, Health and Dental Clinics in the Aligers-Fischer Community.
Chosen to sit ad hoc on the Louisiana Supreme Court for the landmark case In re Ellender in 2004
Baton Rouge, LA
Southern University Law Center, JD; Louisiana State University, B.A., Political Science; Southern University Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, MPA. In 2013, Judge Jenkins completed the Louisiana Supreme Court‘s Judicial Leadership Institute. Judge Jenkins also completed the New York University School of Law's Institute for Appellate Judges and the George Mason University School of Law Economics Institute for Judges.
Judge Jenkins is a former Assistant District Attorney for the Parish of Orleans and a former Staff Attorney, Central Staff, Court of Appeal, 4th Circuit. Judge Jenkins was an Associate and of counsel with the law firm of Scheuermann & Jones, LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to her election to the bench, she was a solo practitioner and served as a CJA panel attorney in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Jenkins presented at CLE programs nationally and locally on the topic of representation of juvenile offenders in federal court. In the fall of 2010, Judge Jenkins joined the faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana, as an Assistant Professor. She teaches pre-law courses.
Louisiana State Bar Association (Co-chair Children’s Law Committee); The New Orleans Bar Association; The Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Inc.
The National Association of Women Judges; The American Judges Association; Louisiana Judicial Council of the National Bar Association; Fourth and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal Judges Association; American Bar Association.
Throughout her professional career, Judge Jenkins has volunteered her services with community projects and organizations. She served as a H.E.L.P. volunteer which is an organization that offers pro bono services to the homeless population and Veterans in the City of New Orleans. Judge Jenkins is a board member of Greg K. Monroe Foundation, Inc. and the Alliance for Affordable Energy. Judge Jenkins is a 2011 graduate of the Junior League of New Orleans “Get On Board” Program (training to serve on a Board of Directors). She has been a CASA, Teen Court, and Junior Achievement volunteer. Additionally, Judge Jenkins participates in annual Law Day activities at local schools. For the past 24 years, Judge Jenkins has been a part the ministries of First Emanuel Baptist Church, New Orleans, Louisiana, where she currently serves on the Ministerial Staff with the responsibilities of curriculum development and writing, teaching, and ministry for women of violence.
Meet the Staff
The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal is seeking an attorney to perform advanced legal research and prepare reports and recommendations for criminal and civil matters before the Court. Applicants must hold a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and, if more than one year of experience, must have a license to practice law in the State of Louisiana and be an active member in good standing with the Louisiana State Bar Association. Knowledge of both criminal and civil law is preferred. Salary starts at $47,533 depending on experience. Applicants should send a resume, law school transcript and writing sample, not to exceed five (5) pages, by February 9, 2018 to the Court in care of:
Director of Central Staff
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
Or by email to: