Judge rules Chapa will appear on election ballot

No firm evidence that candidate does not meet residency requirements

A Beauregard Parish judge ruled Friday that 18 year-old Jose “Lil’ Joe” Chapa, Jr. will be allowed to keep his name on the upcoming sheriff’s election ballot. 

Judge C. Kerry Anderson said in his ruling that the petitioners of a lawsuit claiming Chapa did not meet the residency requirements to run for Beauregard Parish Sheriff did not meet the burden of proof placed upon them, and lacked any firm evidence to bring about a different ruling.

“There has been a lot of conjecture and speculation about what is and what isn’t in this case, but I can only make a ruling on what has been proven as facts. Quite honestly, the burden is on the plaintiffs and it is a pretty heavy burden. The bottom line is, that burden has not been met to disprove that Mr. Chapa has resided in the state of Louisiana for two years prior to Aug. 6, 2019, or that he has actually been domiciled in Beauregard Parish since Aug. 6 of 2018,” Anderson stated as he delivered his decision.

Anderson added that he had “a lot of questions” regarding Chapa’s parents’ filing of homestead exemptions on two homes at the same time, and perhaps, he said, even registering to vote and getting a driver’s license in a different state.

“But I don’t have any absolute proof of that,” Anderson stated.

“Without any evidence to contradict that, I don’t have any evidence to make a decision on,”

The suit was filed Aug. 9 by five petitioners who alleged that Chapa resided in Texas and not Beauregard Parish for the preceding two years before qualifying this month. According to the state election code, anyone seeking the position of clerk of court, tax assessor or sheriff must reside in the parish for two years prior to qualifying, with the most recent preceding year being of a domiciliary residence.

Chapa graduated from the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career & Technical High School in Texas in May 2018, but has publicly stated that he lived in the Dry Creek area of Beauregard Parish and commuted to the Houston-area school each day.

Chapa will appear on the Oct. 12 ballot with candidates John Gott, Mark Herford, Jim Jacobsen, and Rob Moreland, Sr.””Candidacy Qualification graphicAmerican Press