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the ebr coroner's office of dr. beau clark

The East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office is a governmental agency whose jurisdiction includes mental health investigation, medicolegal death investigation, forensic pathology services, and sexual assault investigation in collaboration with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center.  The Coroner’s Office is a state constitutional office and is funded by the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Government.  William “Beau” Clark, M.D. was inaugurated as Coroner on March 26, 2012, and is elected to a four-year term.


As of 2004, of the 2,342 death investigation offices in the United States, 1,590 are coroner’s offices. Of those, only 82 serve jurisdictions of more than 250,000 people.  Qualifications for coroners are set by individual states and counties/parishes in the U.S. and vary widely. In many jurisdictions, little or no training is required, even though a coroner may overrule a forensic pathologist in naming a cause of death.  Because of the differences between jurisdictions, the terms "coroner" and "medical examiner" are defined differently from place to place. In some places, stringent rules require that the medical examiner be a forensic pathologist. In others, the medical examiner must be a physician, though not necessarily a forensic pathologist or even a pathologist. General practitioners, obstetricians, and other types of physicians with no experience in forensic medicine have become medical examiners.  In the U.S., the terms "coroner" and "medical examiner" vary widely in meaning by jurisdiction, as do qualifications and duties for these offices.  Local laws define the deaths a coroner must investigate, but most often include those that are sudden, unexpected, suspicious, violent, or have no attending physician. In some places in the United States, a coroner has other special powers, such as the ability to arrest the sheriff.


According to Louisiana Revised Statute 13:5701, in each parish, there shall be a coroner. Except for the parish of Orleans, he shall be elected at the gubernatorial election, shall serve for a term of four years, and shall take office and begin his term on the fourth Monday in March following the election.  The coroner shall be a conservator of the peace.  Louisiana Revised Statute 13:5704 states, the coroner shall be a physician licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to practice medicine in the state of Louisiana.  This requirement shall be waived in any parish in which no licensed physician qualifies to run for the office.  The coroner shall be a resident of the parish. However, a licensed physician who is not a resident of the parish but who maintains a full-time medical practice at a principal medical office facility in the parish may qualify for and hold the office.  Each coroner may appoint one or more deputy or assistant coroners to perform his duties, who need not be residents of the parish. However, any person appointed as a deputy or assistant coroner, who is not a resident of the parish, shall be a licensed physician. They shall possess the same qualifications as the coroner and be paid by the coroner appointing them or by arrangement with the parish governing authority if the coroner is on a salary basis. A person may serve as a deputy or assistant coroner on a part-time basis in more than one parish.  The tenure of the appointment shall be determined by the appointing coroner but shall not be longer than the coroner's term of office.  The coroner shall be responsible for the acts of his deputy or assistant coroners.  The coroner may appoint any necessary secretaries, stenographers, clerks, technicians, investigators, official photographers, or other helpers.  The salaries of these employees shall be paid by the coroner out of his fees or by arrangement with the parish governing authority if the coroner is on a salary basis.

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