Council member’s 11-year-old to testify

Son subpoenaed in DeRidder domiciliary battle

<p class="indent">The Beauregard Parish District Attorney’s Office is seeking to have the child of a DeRidder city council member testify during an upcoming court battle.</p><p class="indent">On Thursday, the 11 year old son of city council member Michael Harris was served with a subpoena to appear in court next month as a witness for District Attorney James Lestage, who is challenging Harris’ eligibility for his seat based on his domiciliary residence.</p><p class="indent">Harris said he found the move to put his own child in such a position “disturbing.”</p><p class="indent">“To include my own son in all of this, I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe anyone would seek to include a child in a court matter like this,” Harris said.</p><p class="indent">Harris said he intends to fight the subpoena.</p><p class="indent">“My whole life, my whole existence is about protecting my family and that is what I am going to do. My son is too young; he’s still learning about the world around him, and I don’t want him to have to go through this,” Harris said.</p><p class="indent">Lestage told the <em>American Press</em> that as of Thursday he has filed to subpoena a list of individuals he believes will benefit the court in this case.</p><p class="indent">“It is my job to present the court with evidence and testimony that will help it to determine the facts in a case,” Lestage said.</p><p class="indent">On Aug. 25, Lestage released a written opinion stating his intent to file suit to declare Harris’ seat vacant after an investigation conducted by his office showed that Harris was not legally qualified to serve on the panel. Lestage cited the DeRidder City Charter, which mandates all city council members have a domiciliary residence within DeRidder’s city limits.</p><p class="indent">According to Lestage’s opinion, the investigation was required of his office after a written complaint was received on Aug. 8 from former DeRidder mayor Ron Roberts. Roberts had previously filed suit challenging Harris’ eligibility in May while still in office.</p><p class="indent">That suit was thrown out by retired Natchitoches Parish Judge Eric Herrington for failure to follow the State Election Code, which requires that all objections to the eligibility of a candidate be made within seven days of the end of qualifying in January.</p><p class="indent">Harris was elected in an April 24 run-off election and was sworn in on July 2.</p><p class="indent">The hearing has been set for Oct. 8.</p>””<p>Former DeRidder mayor Ron Roberts (left) challenged the candidacy of Mike D. Harris (right) </p>

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