On September 2nd, officials with the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans decided to temporarily move the court to Houston, Texas. The Fifth Circuit hears federal appeals from Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana and was housed in the John Minor Wisdom Courthouse in New Orleans.
The court is expected to begin operations in Houston on September 14 and remain there for approximately 60 days before relocating to Baton Rouge, Louisiana according to news reports quoting Chief Judge Carolyn King.
In addition, King said Baton Rouge was first choice among many court employees who want to be close to their homes as the recovery efforts proceed, but they could not find housing for the court’s 200 employees. King added that officials at the federal courthouse in Houston, headquarters for the Southern District of Texas, have made arrangements to accommodate approximately 70 clerks from the Fifth Circuit.
Judge King added that the court will need assistance in the form of a special appropriation from the United States Congress to cover the costs associated with its temporary relocation to Houston. The costs will include housing for its employees.
According to media reports, the court documents are also stored electronically on computers in Baton Rouge and Shreveport as a precaution. King added that many documents could not be moved in time and may be affected by the flooding in and around the New Orleans area.
The court has updated the information on its Web site as follows:
This September 2, 2005 note updates the information previously posted on the Internet.
1. Attorneys and litigants should not send any filings or documents to New Orleans.
2. The court will remain closed through September 13, 2005. Court employees will continue to be in an Administrative Leave status.
3. All filing deadlines on or after August 24th through September 30th are automatically extended until October 3, 2005, and may be further extended. Before filing, check our Internet site www.ca5.uscourts.gov.
4. True emergency matters, e.g. death penalty cases with execution dates, or deportation matters with imminent and confirmed deportation dates, may be filed by FAX at 713-250-5050, or mailed or delivered to:
Chambers of Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King
515 Rusk Street
Houston, Texas 77002.
5. We presently anticipate opening the clerk’s office for a broader range of matters on or about September 14, 2005, at 515 Rusk Street, Houston, Texas. We will advise you when to begin sending filings and documents and provide you the exact mailing address, and physical office location shortly.
6. Please consult our website frequently for updated information.