The Louisiana Supreme Court has overturned a constitutional amendment barring felons from running for office because voters approved a version without a last-minute legislative change. “Simply stated, what the citizens voted on was not what the legislature enacted,” Justice John L. Weimer wrote for the 6-1 majority in a lawsuit brought by former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd. Voters had approved an amendment in 1997 forbidding convicted felons from running for office for 15 years after the end of their sentences. However, the version on the ballot omitted an amendment exempting those sentenced only to probation.
Shepherd was not allowed to run for the state House in 2015 because his federal sentence for conspiring to launder money had ended in 2014. He pleaded guilty in October 2008, signing a statement that he had laundered more than $140,000 for Gwendolyn Joseph Moyo in late 2006, making about $45,000 from the scheme. He was sentenced in October 2010 to three years and a month in prison, and, after getting out of prison, was on supervised release until May 2014.
In a statement emailed Wednesday by spokeswoman Danae Columbus, Shepherd said he was grateful for the justices’ decision and may run for Republican David Vitter’s U.S. Senate seat. “My constituents are asking me to run and I am giving it full consideration,” he said.
Full Article: State high court overturns bar to felons running for office.