Cowan disqualified as sheriff candidate in Concordia Parish

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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VIDALIA, La. — John William Cowan has been disqualified as a candidate for Sheriff of Concordia Parish, making incumbent Sheriff David Hedrick unopposed.

Cowan was the only challenger to Hedrick as of the Aug. 10 deadline to qualify for the Oct. 14 primary election.

John Cowan

Seventh Judicial District Court Judge John Reeves issued a judgment Tuesday morning on a petition to disqualify the former deputy and long-time officer Cowan as a candidate.

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Cowan faces impending charges from the Attorney General’s office for three counts of indecent behavior with juveniles, one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and one count of obstructing justice by intimidating a witness.

However, the basis of the disqualification is Cowan’s failure to file income tax returns.

A petition was filed Thursday, Aug. 17, by William H. Rucker in his capacity as a registered voter of the parish.

Cowan’s notice of candidacy, as is required by Louisiana law, states that, “If I am a candidate for any office other than United States senator or representative in congress, that for each of the previous five tax years, I have filed my federal and state income tax returns, have filed for an extension of time for filing either my federal or state income tax return or both, or was not required to file either a federal or state income tax return or both.”

Rucker states a public records request had been made to the Louisiana Department of Revenue for information regarding any income tax returns filed by Cowan for the past five tax years.

A response to his public records request from the Department of Revenue attached to the court filing confirms that Cowan did file for tax years 2018 and 2022, but the DOR did not confirm filings for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 tax years.

According to court minutes from a hearing on the matter Monday, Aug. 21, Cowan presented tax documents for those years in open court. Judge Reeves took the matter under advisement until Tuesday morning, stating that a judgment would be made within 24 hours.

Reeves proceeded with the judgment disqualifying Cowan as a candidate at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Cowan has 24 hours to appeal the ruling but has not said whether he intends to do so.

No appeal had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.

“It is with great regret to announce that I have been disqualified from the Sheriff’s race in Concordia Parish,” Cowan stated in a social media post on Tuesday. “During the proceedings yesterday, I stated that to the best of my knowledge, the filings were done, and when made aware of the discrepancy, I immediately corrected it. Though there was a lack of notice and correspondence from a state department, the disqualification was made this morning. My deepest apologies to all who supported me and to the citizens of this parish.”