Former Beauregard Parish sheriff candidate Jose “Lil’ Joe” Chapa, Jr. has been sentenced to community service after admitting to providing false statements while under oath.
Chapa, 19, appeared on Friday before 36th Judicial District Judge C. Kerry Anderson in civil court to answer charges of perjury filed against him earlier this month by the District Attorney’s office.
Chapa voluntarily admitted to Judge Anderson that some of the testimony he gave during a hearing last year regarding his eligibility to run for sheriff was “not accurate.” He later apologized to the court for his indiscretion.
He was found in direct contempt of court by Judge Anderson and ordered to perform community service. Anderson further ordered that Chapa be jailed if the conditions were not met in a timely manner.
Immediately following the civil hearing, District Attorney James Lestage released a statement that his office would seek to dismiss Chapa’s indictment for perjury and consider the matter closed.
“In light of his willingness to accept responsibility for his inaccurate testimony, I have re-evaluated (the indictment),” Lestage said in the statement.
“I have considered mitigating factors such as his young age, as well as aggravating factors such as the possibility of improperly affecting an election. It is my belief that the judge’s sentence on his contempt finding appropriately addresses the perjury charge in the criminal indictment.”
Chapa first appeared in court in August 2019 after a lawsuit was filed against him by five Beauregard Parish registered voters who alleged Chapa did not meet the residency requirements to run for sheriff. The suit alleged Chapa lived in Texas, not Beauregard Parish, prior to qualifying.
Louisiana state election codes require anyone seeking the office of sheriff, clerk of court, or tax assessor live in the respected parishes for two years prior to qualifying for an election, with the most recent full year being of a domiciliary residence basis.
Chapa testified during the August hearing that despite having graduated from a Houston-area high school in May 2018, that he lived in the Dry Creek area of Beauregard Parish with his parents prior to qualifying and that he commuted to the Houston school from his home.
He also denied allegations that he possessed a Texas-issued driver’s license.
Chapa appeared on the Oct. 12 sheriff’s election ballot, but earned the lowest number of votes against his four other competitors.