Two lawsuits have been filed to disqualify two candidates in the Oct. 12 primary election in St. Charles Parish.
Henry LeBoyd filed suit in the 29th Judicial District Court versus Matt Jewell and Clerk of Court Lance Marino contending Jewell is not a qualified candidate for the office of parish president.
The case will be heard at 10 a.m. Wednesday in court in expedited proceedings per the law on elections, according to the lawsuit. Jewell must produce information proving he is a registered voter and has lived in St. Charles Parish for five years.
Judicial judges Emile St. Pierre, Lauren Lemmon and Timothy Marcel have recused themselves from the case. Ad hoc Judge Ashley Bruce Simpson, formerly of the 17th Judicial District in Lafourche Parish.
Jewell is facing incumbent Larry Cochran and Reanda Fields-Pierre in the election. Jay Roberts qualified, but withdrew from the race on Wednesday (Aug. 14).
The parish’s Home Rule Charter states a parish president candidate must be a registered voter and live in the parish for five years “prior to his assuming office.” LeBoyd contends Jewell has been a resident of the District of Columbia and employed by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., at least until 2017.
“As a result of submitting a false certification of his eligibility to run for this office, Matt Jewell must be disqualified and his name must be duly excluded as a candidate for the office of Parish President, St. Charles Parish,” states the lawsuit.
Jewell is a native of St. Charles Parish and graduate of Hahnville High School, but the legal question will come down to whether or not the judge interprets the charter to state five years immediately prior to running for parish president or five years total.
The Herald-Guide has reached out for a legal opinion regarding this matter.
Jewell said he’s been a resident of St. Charles Parish his entire life.
“It’s disappointing that someone would use a lawsuit to try and control an election,” he said. “The voters of St. Charles Parish clearly deserve better and that’s why I’m running. We fully expect to win this suit and to go on and win it in October.”
Raymond Labat Jr. also filed a lawsuit contesting Melinda Bedi’s residency as a candidate for sheriff.
More details to come.