The Third Circuit Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling blocking a convicted felon from seeking a seat on the Abbeville City Council.
(Update: After the INDsider broke this story late Friday, Abbeville Councilman Francis Touchet told KATC TV3 that he plans to appeal the Third Circuit's ruling to the state Supreme Court.)
The Third Circuit Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling blocking Ernal Broussard from seeking a seat on the Abbeville City Council. Broussard pleaded guilty to a federal felony gambling charge in 2005 - a charge which incumbent Councilman Francis Touchet argued barred Broussard from seeking to unseat him. District Court Judge Marilyn Castle agreed, ruling that Broussard was ineligible to qualify for the election.
Louisiana law prohibits the seeking of elected office until 15 years after a state felony conviction. However, the appeals panel ruled that Touchet did not prove that Broussard's plea to a federal charge would have constituted a felony under state law. Broussard is now cleared to qualify for the election and challenge Touchet's District B seat on the council. Had the Third Circuit upheld Castle's ruling, Touchet would have been unopposed. According to The Abbeville Meridional, Broussard had been actively campaigning for the seat until Castle's ruling last week.
To read the full Third Circuit ruling, click here.