Third Circuit: Allen eligible to run for mayor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Gene Allen and Justin Conner’s battle regarding candidacy now will head to the polls as both meet four other candidates for mayor of Ferriday on March 9.

Conner appealed Seventh Judicial District Judge Leo Boothe’s Monday decision to dismiss his case challenging Allen’s residency, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment Friday.

&uot;We rest with the decision that has been made,&uot; Conner said Friday afternoon.

Email newsletter signup

Through testimony of records that Allen allegedly did not change his address and homestead exemption within one year of qualifying, Conner’s attorney Robert Clark said Allen did not meet candidacy requirements. But Boothe said Allen’s testimony that since October 2002 he lived at 609 Alabama Ave. &045;&045; the same site as his business, a funeral home &045;&045; was enough to establish residency. The appeals court agreed. The law states &uot;the mayor must be an elector of the municipality who at the time of qualification as a candidate for the office of mayor shall have been domiciled and actually resided for at least the immediately preceding year in the municipality.&uot;

The appeals court said a domicile is a habitual residence and used Allen’s testimony that he ate and slept in the trailer at the address every day as proof it is his domicile, as did the district court.

Boothe said the fact that Allen did not fill out paperwork until February 2003 does not mean he did not reside there.

Clark argued in the trial Allen did not change his homestead exemption within one year of qualifying, having done so Feb. 26, 2003, and therefore did not meet the qualifications according to the law.

The appeals court, however, said the date of the homestead exemption change does not change the fact that Allen was domiciled at 609 Alabama Ave.

although his homestead exemption was outside the city limits until February 2003.

The law only says the candidate for mayor must be an elector of the municipality, which Allen is once he changed his homestead and address. The law says he has to reside in the municipality one year prior to qualifying but does not say he has to be an elector within one year of qualifying, the appeals court said.