SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In a unanimous vote, the Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a Caddo District Court decision disqualifying Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins‘ from running for re-election.
The panel of appellate judges, Judge Shondra D. Stone from Shreveport, Jeff R. Thompson from Bossier City, and Chief Judge D. Milton Moore III from Monroe voted 3-0 to affirm Caddo District Judge Brady O’Callaghan’s ruling, which was handed down Tuesday following a hearing held the day before.
The decision was handed down early Monday following a Friday hearing before a panel of three appellate judges at which Perkins’ attorneys argued against the lower court’s decision.
After the decision was handed down late Monday morning, one of Perkins’ attorneys, L. Havard Scott III, said Perkins will appeal the 2nd Circuit Court’s ruling with the Louisiana Supreme Court and issued the following statement just after noon on Monday:
We are disappointed with the decision of the 2nd Circuit. We continue to believe that Mayor Perkins is a qualified candidate, and it was always a long shot to have the Second Circuit reverse it own precedent in the West Monroe case. There is a split among the Louisiana Circuit Courts on this issue which only the State Supreme Court can resolve. We intend to immediate appeal immediately.Scott Bickford/L. Havard Scott III, attorneys for Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins
Following the 2nd Circuit’s decision, Jerry Harper and Anne Wilkes, attorneys for Francis Dean, the plaintiff in the lawsuit questioning Perkins’ candidacy, also issued a statement;
“We appreciate the Appellate Court taking seriously their role as guardians of the integrity of the election system under Louisiana law. The panel of judges hearing this matter were extremely prepared; and, we are pleased that they sustained our position and the position of the district court in litigation.”
Perkins’ attorneys have 48 hours from the time the 2nd Circuit’s ruling was handed down to submit a writ to the Louisiana Supreme Court asking that the ruling be overturned.
The High Court’s justices may deny the writ, meaning the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal ruling will stand; grant the writ and consider the case; or grant the writ to the docket and request oral arguments before deciding.
Because disqualifying candidates is rare, when these cases reach the Louisiana Supreme Court it is basically uncharted territory so it is unclear what the time frame might be if the High Court chose to grant the writ and/or request oral arguments.
The District Court’s ruling, which was handed down Tuesday came in response to a lawsuit filed July 29 challenging Perkins’ candidacy after he signed his qualification form stating his address was in the 9600 block of Stratmore Circle, where he was registered to vote.
However, when running for office in Louisiana, in filling out the Notice of Candidacy, a candidate is required to use the same address as where the Homestead Exemption is taken. In his paperwork, Perkins certified the Stratmore address in southeast Shreveport as his residence instead of the address of the condo where he claims his homestead exemption in downtown Shreveport.
Although Perkins bought his condo in the 700 block of Marshall Street in May 2019, he did not change his voter registration at that time, only changing it on July 30, the day after the lawsuit questioning his residency.
Perkins’ attorneys argued the discrepancy was the result of a minor clerical error and on Tuesday said the ruling added up to voter suppression.
The panel of judges heard 20-minute arguments from Perkins’ attorney Scott Bickford and by opposing attorney Jerry Harper, and then Bickford’s rebuttal to Harper’s argument