DeRidder councilman taking his case to La . Supreme Court

<p class="indent">A DeRidder city councilman has petitioned the state Supreme Court to hear his case, as he seeks to overturn two previous rulings against him.</p><p class="indent">DeRidder councilman at-large Michael D. Harris filed a writ to the high court this week through attorney Michael McHale requesting the court overturn a decision to declare his seat vacant. Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal upheld an October trial court decision that Harris was ineligible for the seat because he was not domiciled within city limits, a requirement mandated by the DeRidder City Charter.</p><p class="indent">McHale claimed in the petition the ruling by the Third Circuit court was in violation of the city charter’s rules and that it “erroneously interpreted” state law in its decision by taking into consideration evidence and events that transpired before Harris took office on July 2.</p><p class="indent">“The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal improperly expanded the pleadings to include whether Mr. Harris was qualified to run for office which had clearly prescribed according to La R.S. 18:493, which bars any actions regarding candidacy after seven days after qualifying for office,” McHale’s petition reads.</p><p class="indent">McHale referred in his petition to an earlier May lawsuit filed against Harris by former DeRidder mayor Ron Roberts. That suit was tossed by retired Natchitoches Parish judge Eric Harrington because the city did not meet the deadline imposed by the State Election Code to file any challenges to candidacy with seven days of the end of qualifying.</p><p class="indent">In August, Roberts filed a complaint as a registered voter and citizen of DeRidder to the office of District Attorney James Lestage questioning Harris’ eligibility after he had taken seat on the council. As required by law, Lestage conducted an investigation into Harris’ domiciliary residence and later filed suit to declare the council seat vacant. That declaration was upheld by the October trial court.</p>””Louisiana Supreme Court

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