2018 Louisiana Laws
Revised Statutes
TITLE 15 - Criminal Procedure
RS 15:255 - Witness fees to off-duty law enforcement officers

Universal Citation: LA Rev Stat § 15:255 (2018)

§255. Witness fees to off-duty law enforcement officers

            A.(1) Whenever a law enforcement officer is required to be present, in his official capacity, as a witness in any criminal case or delinquency adjudication in any district or parish court or any court exercising juvenile jurisdiction, during any time he is not required to report to work or perform the duties of his office, the law enforcement officer shall be paid the sum of fifty dollars for each day per case, but not more than one hundred fifty dollars in any one day, regardless of the number of cases for which he is required to be present or whether he actually testified in the case, and which sum shall be paid from those costs of court collected pursuant to the provisions of Paragraphs (D)(1) and (2) of this Section. This fee shall not be paid, however, to any law enforcement officer who is compensated by his employer for his appearance as a witness pursuant to the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., except as provided in Paragraph (3) of this Subsection. Application for payment of the fee shall be accompanied by documentation verifying the law enforcement officer's service as a witness and that the law enforcement officer has not been compensated by the employer for his appearance as a witness pursuant to the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. Within sixty days of receipt of the application for the fee, along with accompanying documentation, the governing authority of the parish shall transmit the fees due under this Section to the law enforcement officer's employer. The employer shall be responsible for calculating and withholding all requisite deductions for taxes and for transferring or remitting all sums of employee withholdings to the appropriate taxing authorities, on behalf of the law enforcement officer and, within thirty days after receipt of the funds, for making payment of the appropriate net amount to the law enforcement officer.

            (2) In the city of New Orleans, the Civil Service Commission shall establish rules for the payment of each law enforcement officer who because of his official connection with any criminal case as the arresting officer or in some other official capacity, is required to be present as a witness in any criminal case which is being tried in the Criminal District Court for the parish of Orleans during any time when he otherwise is not required to report to work or perform the duties of his job. The officer's employing agency shall be paid from those costs of court collected pursuant to the provisions of Paragraphs (D)(1) and (2) of this Section for overtime or any other compensation costs associated with his required presence as a witness.

            (3) Notwithstanding any provision of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection to the contrary, whenever the presence of an off-duty law enforcement officer employed by public safety services of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections or by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required in court as described in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the witness fee authorized by this Subsection shall be paid to the officer's employing agency upon verification of appearance and duty status of the officer. The employing agency shall compensate the officer for his presence in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.

            (4) The employer of any law enforcement officer shall be responsible for calculating and withholding all requisite deductions for taxes and for transferring or remitting all sums of employee withholdings to the appropriate taxing authorities, on behalf of the law enforcement officer and for making payment of the appropriate net amount to the law enforcement officer.

            B. The plan adopted for the payment of witness fees to law enforcement officers shall be applicable to all law enforcement officers alike and shall be paid for each day any law enforcement officer is required to be present and is present in one or more cases in such courts during his regular time off.

            C. Compensation allowed law enforcement officers as witnesses in accordance with the provisions of this Section shall not be deemed to be in lieu of, or to constitute any portion of, the salary or compensation paid to such law enforcement officers for the performance of the duties of their jobs, nor shall the payment of such witness fees be taken into consideration in determining the salary, any salary increase or any supplemental pay by the state to which any law enforcement officer is or becomes entitled.

            D.(1) Witness fees provided for by this Section shall be paid from costs of court collected in individual cases tried in district or parish courts or in any court exercising juvenile jurisdiction which shall be assessed as a part of the costs of court to be collected in such cases and shall be collected for each case in which there is a plea of guilty or in which there is a conviction. The judge or judges of court for the judicial district wherein the parish, or city of New Orleans, is situated shall adopt a schedule of costs that shall be applicable in each case before that court to which such costs are applicable. All of such costs shall be placed, as they are collected, in a special fund that shall be maintained and be administered by the governing authority and said authority shall pay out of said fund the witness fees herein provided for.

            (2) The judge or judges shall, as the needs of the special fund require, adjust the schedule of costs to insure that the proceeds are adequate to fully pay the witness fees herein provided.

            E.(1) Except as provided for in R.S. 15:254.6 and 254.8, each law enforcement officer who, because of his official connections with any criminal case being tried in the city court or mayor's court, as the arresting officer or in some other official capacity, is required to be present as a witness in the case during any time when he is otherwise not required to report to work or perform the duties of his office shall be paid the sum of fifty dollars for each day per case for which his presence in the court is required and for which he is present, except that in the Mayor's Court of the city of Mansfield, such sum shall not exceed twenty-five dollars per day for each day per case. No officer shall be allowed more than one hundred fifty dollars in any one day, regardless of the number of cases for which he is required to be present, except that in the Mayor's Court of the city of Mansfield, no officer shall be allowed more than seventy-five dollars in any one day, regardless of the number of cases for which he is required to be present. This fee shall not be paid, however, to any law enforcement officer who is compensated by his employer for his appearance as a witness pursuant to the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. Application for payment of the fee shall be accompanied by documentation verifying the law enforcement officer's service as a witness and that the law enforcement officer has not been compensated by his employer for his appearance as a witness pursuant to the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. Within thirty days of receipt of the application for the fee, along with accompanying documentation, the governing authority of the municipality having the city court or mayor's court shall transmit the fee to the law enforcement officer's employer. The employer shall be responsible for calculating and withholding all requisite deductions for taxes and for transferring or remitting all sums of employee withholdings to the appropriate taxing authorities on behalf of the law enforcement officer and, within thirty days after receipt of the funds, for making payment of the appropriate net amount to the law enforcement officer.

            (2) Witness fees provided by this Subsection shall be paid from costs of court which shall be assessed and collected in individual cases in which there is a plea of guilty or a conviction, in accordance with a schedule of costs adopted by the judge or judges of the city court or mayor's court, provided that in a mayor's court, the cost assessed for such purpose for any person who pleads guilty or is convicted in an individual case shall not exceed fifty dollars; however, in the Mayor's Court of the city of Mansfield, the costs assessed and collected in an individual case shall not exceed twenty-five dollars. The costs so collected shall be placed in a special fund maintained and administered by the governing authority and from which the governing authority shall pay the witness fees provided for herein.

            (3) The judge or judges of the city court or mayor's court may adjust the schedule of costs from time to time as the needs of the fund may require, provided that in a mayor's court, the cost assessed for such purpose for any person who pleads guilty or is convicted in an individual case shall not exceed fifty dollars, except that in the Mayor's Court of the city of Mansfield, this amount shall not exceed twenty-five dollars.

            (4) The governing authority of the city of Baton Rouge is authorized to pay each law enforcement officer who, because of his official connections with any criminal case being tried in the city court, as the arresting officer or in some other official capacity, is required to be present as a witness in the case during any time when he is otherwise not required to report to work or perform the duties of his office, the sum of twenty-five dollars for each day per case for which his presence in the court is required and for which he is present. No officer shall be allowed more than fifty dollars in any one day, regardless of the number of cases for which he is required to be present. The governing authority of the city shall transmit the fees due under this Section to the law enforcement officer's employer within thirty days after the officer qualifies for the fee. The employer shall be responsible for calculating and withholding all requisite deductions for taxes and for transferring or remitting all sums of employee withholdings to the appropriate taxing authorities, on behalf of the law enforcement officer and, within thirty days after receipt of the funds, for making payment of the appropriate net amount to the law enforcement officer.

            (5) The employer of any law enforcement officer shall be responsible for calculating and withholding all requisite deductions for taxes and for transferring or remitting all sums of employee withholdings to the appropriate taxing authorities on behalf of the law enforcement officer and for making payment of the appropriate net amount to the law enforcement officer.

            F. For the purposes of this Section only, "law enforcement officer" as used herein shall include a person who withdraws blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content therein under the provisions of R.S. 32:664. However, no such person shall be eligible for a witness fee pursuant to this Section if he is paid by his employer for his time in court.

            G. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to require any parish or municipal governing authority to appropriate general fund monies for the payment of the witness fees provided for in this Section. Any witness fees and employer contributions associated therewith provided for in this Section shall be paid solely from the special fund administered by each respective parish or municipal governing authority.

            H. In the Twenty-First Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the criminal court fund of the Twenty-First Judicial District Court. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection shall be transferred no later than January thirty-first of each year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the Twenty-First Judicial District Court may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus money pursuant to this Subsection.

            I. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the city of Hammond may adopt an ordinance which provides that on January first of each year the amount of money in the witness fee fund for the city of Hammond which exceeds fifty thousand dollars shall be transferred to the general fund of the city of Hammond to be used solely for purchasing equipment for the police department of the city of Hammond. For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of fifty thousand dollars required to be kept in the witness fee fund shall mean fifty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below fifty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made under the provisions of this Subsection.

            J. In the Fifth Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the criminal court fund of the Fifth Judicial District Court. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection shall be transferred no later than January thirty-first of each year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the Fifth Judicial District Court may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus money pursuant to this Subsection.

            K. A parish or municipal governing authority may pay from the special fund any taxes, penalties, or interest incurred due to the failure of the governing authority to perform appropriate withholding from fees paid directly to law enforcement officers, as required by the Internal Revenue Code, for taxable years 2005 and previous.

            L. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the city of Mansfield may adopt an ordinance which provides that on January first of each year, the amount of money in the witness fee fund for the Mayor's court of the city of Mansfield which exceeds thirty thousand dollars shall be transferred to the general fund of the city of Mansfield to be used solely for purchasing equipment for the police department of the city of Mansfield. For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of thirty thousand dollars required to be kept in the witness fee fund shall mean thirty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below thirty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made under the provisions of this Subsection.

            M. In the Twenty-Third Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the criminal court fund of the Twenty-Third Judicial District Court. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection shall be transferred no later than January thirty-first of each year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the Twenty-Third Judicial District Court may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus money pursuant to this Subsection.

            N. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the city of Kenner may adopt an ordinance which provides that on July first of each year, the amount of money in the witness fee fund for the mayor's court of the city of Kenner which exceeds fifty thousand dollars shall be transferred to the general fund of the city of Kenner to be used solely for purchasing equipment for the police department of the city of Kenner. For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of fifty thousand dollars required to be kept in the witness fee fund shall mean fifty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below fifty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made under the provisions of this Subsection.

            O. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the city of Crowley may adopt an ordinance which provides that on September first of each year, the amount of money in the witness fee fund provided for the City Court of Crowley which exceeds thirty thousand dollars shall be transferred to the general fund of the city of Crowley to be used solely for purchasing equipment for the police department of the city of Crowley. For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of thirty thousand dollars required to be kept in the witness fee fund shall mean thirty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below thirty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made pursuant to the provisions of this Subsection.

            P.(1) In the Sixteenth Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district that exceed fifty thousand dollars at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the criminal court fund of the Sixteenth Judicial District Court. However, no single parish shall transfer more than one hundred fifty thousand dollars per year to the criminal court fund of the Sixteenth Judicial District Court. The surplus monies that are required to be transferred by this Subsection shall be transferred no later than January thirty-first of each year, and may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the Sixteenth Judicial District Court may be used.

            (2) As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money that is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and that is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement officer's court appearance shall be considered surplus money pursuant to this Subsection.

            (3) For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of fifty thousand dollars required to be maintained in the witness fee fund shall mean fifty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below fifty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made under the provisions of this Subsection.

            Q.(1) In the First Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund that exceed fifty thousand dollars at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authority of Caddo Parish to the criminal court fund of the First Judicial District Court. However, no more than one hundred fifty thousand dollars per year shall be transferred to the criminal court fund of the First Judicial District Court. The surplus monies that are required to be transferred by this Subsection shall be transferred no later than January thirty-first of each year, and may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the First Judicial District Court may be used.

            (2) As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money that is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and that is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement officer's court appearance shall be considered surplus money pursuant to this Subsection.

            (3) For the purposes of this Subsection, the balance of fifty thousand dollars required to be maintained in the witness fee fund shall mean fifty thousand dollars in unexpended and unencumbered funds, and under no circumstances shall the balance in the witness fee fund be reduced below fifty thousand dollars as a result of a transfer made under the provisions of this Subsection.

            R. In the Sixth Judicial District, all surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district that exceed two thousand dollars at the end of each calendar year shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the criminal court fund of the Sixth Judicial District Court no later than January thirty-first of each calendar year. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the Sixth Judicial District Court may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus monies pursuant to this Subsection.

            S. No later than March thirty-first of each year, the governing authority of Washington Parish may transfer to the criminal court fund of Washington Parish all surplus monies in its special fund that exceed five thousand dollars at the end of each calendar year. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies authorized to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the parish may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus monies pursuant to this Subsection.

            T. No later than April thirtieth of each year, the governing authority of Lafourche Parish shall transfer to the criminal court fund of Lafourche Parish all surplus monies in its special fund that exceed ten thousand dollars at the end of each calendar year. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off- duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies transferred pursuant to the provisions of this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the criminal court fund of the parish may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus monies pursuant to this Subsection.

            U. In the Fourth Judicial District, surplus monies in the special fund in each of the parishes in that district shall be transmitted by the governing authorities of those parishes to the judicial expense fund of the Fourth Judicial District Court upon request by the court. As used in this Subsection, "special fund" means the special fund provided for in Subsection D of this Section, and "surplus monies" means the amount of money which is in each special fund at the end of each calendar year and which is in excess of the total amount paid from each special fund as witness fees for off-duty law enforcement officers in that calendar year. The surplus monies which are required to be transferred by this Subsection may be used for any purpose for which the other monies in the judicial expense fund of the Fourth Judicial District Court may be used. No money obligated to be paid to any officer or agency for an off-duty law enforcement court appearance shall be considered surplus monies pursuant to this Subsection.

            Acts 1966, No. 311, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1967. Amended by Acts 1980, No. 690, §1; Acts 1981, No. 251, §1; Acts 1982, No. 66, §1; Acts 1983, No. 57, §1; Acts 1983, No. 220, §1; Acts 1984, No. 737, §1; Acts 1985, No. 495, §1, eff. July 12, 1985; Acts 1985, No. 430, §1, eff. July 10, 1985; Acts 1986, No. 281, §1; Acts 1986, No. 263, §1; Acts 1987, No. 421, §1, eff. July 8, 1987; Acts 1987, No. 647, §1; Acts 1990, No. 318, §1; Acts 1999, No. 670, §1; Acts 2001, No. 355, §1; Acts 2001, No. 881, §1; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 127, §1; Acts 2004, No. 473, §1; Acts 2004, No. 582, §1; Acts 2005, No. 96, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 2006; Acts 2006, No. 25, §1; Acts 2007, No. 290, §1; Acts 2007, No. 231, §1; Acts 2009, No. 72, §1; Acts 2010, No. 187, §1; Acts 2011, No. 158, §1; Acts 2012, No. 722, §2; Acts 2015, No. 204, §1; Acts 2017, No. 113, §1; Acts 2018, No. 55, §1; Acts 2018, No. 268, §2.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Louisiana may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.