March 9, 2017 05:32 PM

Vanessa Anseman
Photo by Robin May

KATC reported late Thursday afternoon that St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor is challenging the candidacy of Vanessa Anseman.

Taylor tells the station he filed a lawsuit after a resident complained that Anseman, one of three Republican women vying for the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, did not meet the minimum qualifications to run.

Late this afternoon, The IND reached Taylor by phone. He says he petitioned the court after he received a complaint challenging Anseman's eligibility from attorney Verona Wiltz of Krotz Springs.

"She cited various documents and laws in her complaint," Taylor says. "I think the law is a little vague so the best place to settle this matter is before the court. So, I brought the petition today."

Taylor says the matter will be heard in 27th Judicial District Court Judge Alonzo Harris' court Monday morning.

The IND was unable to reach Wiltz for comment.

The state constitution states that candidates shall "have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least" 10 years.

Anseman was admitted to the bar on October 10, 2003, which would appear to make her qualified to seek the appeals court seat. However, she was first certified ineligible to practice law by the Louisiana State Bar Association on May 31, 2013 — nine years and 233 days after she was admitted to practice law. According to the LSBA, Anseman was not fully reinstated to practice law until Jan. 13 of this year.

The primary question is whether that period of ineligibility will count against her 10 years.

The IND's Mike Stagg was the first to report on the question of Anseman’s qualifications. Read that story here.

One of Anseman's challengers, Susan Theall, sent a letter to 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes last week requesting that he challenge Anseman's qualifications. Stutes has not responded to several phone calls seeking comment on the issue.

Taylor denies that his actions are tied to the interest of any candidate.

"I don't have a dog in this fight," he tells The IND. "The matter was brought to me, and I think that the best thing to do is let the court decide."

Taylor says he has met with candidates Candyce Perret and Theall on separate occasions but that he has not endorsed nor campaigned for a candidate in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal race.

Anseman, Perret and Theall are candidates in the March 25 special election to fill the unexpired term of Justice Jimmy Genovese, who was elected to the state Supreme Court last year. Genovese's former Division B seat covers Acadia, Allen, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes; all three women live in Lafayette.