Legal proceedings against a Monroe City School Board member have been dismissed.
A petition was filed by the District Attorney’s office for the removal of Darryl Berry, board member for District 4 on grounds that he’s a felon.
Now, a new ruling in the state’s highest court has lead to the case’s dismissal.
Representative Marcus Hunter, acting as lead counsel for Darryl Berry, was confident the case against Berry would be dismissed, but not for reasons he argued in court.
Hunter argued a number of exceptions Wednesday, including the issue of time. Hunter says, according to election law, the state has 7 days within an election to bring challenges against the elected official. The petition against Berry came more than a year after the election.
It was ultimately a clerical error that resulted in the case dismissal; it all goes back to a 1998 amendment to the Louisiana Constitution that would limit felons from seeking public office.
In a hearing Wednesday, the state’s Supreme Court overturned the amendment because, simply put, what the citizens voted on was not what was enacted thanks to a language issue.
Wednesday’s ruling means there’s no valid legal reason barring Berry from the Monroe City School Board.
Assistant District Attorney, Neal Johnson, sent the following response to the ruling:
“It is certainly disappointing that a very good provision of the law, which was overwhelmingly approved by the voters of this state, was nullified by a clerical error of some staff member of the Louisiana Legislature.
This now means that murderers, rapists, and pedophiles can now
hold elected office. Hopefully, the Legislature will move quickly to correct this error, but it is unlikely that any future act can be applied
All parties will return to the courtroom Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. for the official dismissal of the case.