The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears East Texas federal cases, began to preside over cases at its "emergency command post" in Houston on Wednesday.

While the court remains closed for new matters since it was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, some oral argument panels have rescheduled certain cases to be heard in Houston at the district court, according to the appeals court's Web site,

The court is asking attorneys and litigants not to send any filings or documents to New Orleans, and indicates that filing deadlines have been extended.

Emergency matters, such as 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 the chambers of Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King at 515 Rusk St., Room 11020, Houston, 77002.

The court anticipates opening the clerk's office for a broader range of matters around Sept. 14 at the Houston location, the Web site states. The Fifth Circuit court decides appeals from the federal courts in Tyler and throughout the Eastern District of Texas.

┬ęTyler Morning Telegraph 2005