The state appealed New Iberia City Council Member David Merrill's case to the state Supreme Court last Friday.
"The constitution is clear when it says a convicted felon should not be allowed to serve or hold elected office. So, that is the position we advocate and we feel it is particularly important in this case, because no other court decision has been rendered on this issue," Assistant District Attorney Jacques Cousin.
"This could have a serious impact on all public officials at some point, so I can understand the District Attorney's emphasis on it," said Merrill’s attorney Lewis Pitman.
Cousin says it should take about a month before they find out whether or not they'll wind up on the Supreme Court docket.
The Court of Appeal ruled, last week, that Merrill was able to continue serving. According to Pitman, the councilman was never convicted of possession in 2003; only entering into a voluntary drug court program. He said both the 16th Judicial District Court and Court of Appeal have ruled a conviction involves a mandatory sentence.
"He was never sentenced. The drug court was a part of a probation, not a part of his sentence," said Pitman.
"We take the position that he was convicted," said Cousin.
1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
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