NEW ORLEANS – Civil rights, disability rights, and fair housing advocates today again urged the Louisiana Supreme Court and Attorney General Jeff Landry to provide guidance to Louisiana Judges and Courts on their obligation to provide accommodations for people with disabilities who cannot safely attend court in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter asserts “egregious violations by some courts” noting that last week First Circuit Court of Appeal stopped an eviction in St. Helena Parish because the Justice refused to provide accommodations. The appeals court stated that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Justices of the Peace are required to provide accommodations in the form of remote hearings by video conference when requested by a tenant with disabilities.
“We again ask you to notify, educate and train all Judges, Justices of the Peace and Courts to act justly and fulfill their responsibilities under the law to people with disabilities,” the letter states.
Today’s communication follows a previous letter from the coalition warning against restarting eviction proceedings and urging courts to take additional steps to protect vulnerable populations and ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter was signed by Bill Quigley and David Finger of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, the ACLU of Louisiana, CrescentCare, Disability Rights Louisiana, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.