Oct 23, 2013 4:30 PM by Ian Auzenne

Court date set for Iberia councilman accused of illegally holding office

A New Iberia city councilman will go on trial in January to answer to claims he is ineligible to hold office.

District attorney Phil Haney's office filed the suit against David Merrill in September. The filing states that Merrill was convicted on drug charges in 2003, 10 years before Merrill took office. However, the state constitution mandates that anyone with a felony conviction waits 15 years before running for elected office.

In his rebuttal, Merrill states that he is eligible to hold office because of how his case was handled. The response quotes Article 893 of Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, which stats that a conviction in a case accepted into drug court may be set aside and that "[t]he dismissal of prosecution shall have the same effect as an acquittal."

The trial is set to take place on January 24.


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