A Louisiana appeals court ruled Friday that a New Iberia-based lawyer can run for district judge after the state filed a petition to disqualify her from the race.

The state argued earlier this month that 16th Judicial District candidate Carolyn Deal could not run for office because she lacks the eight years of experience practicing law in Louisiana required by the state constitution.

Deal was admitted to the bar Oct. 29, 2007, according to the Louisiana State Bar Association.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that while Deal has not practiced law for eight calendar years, she has practiced law in eight different years.

The state constitution does not specify.

“This is a victory for the voters,” Deal, 50, said in a written statement to The Advocate.

Louisiana Election Code stipulates that challenges against a candidate’s qualifications must be made a week after qualifying ends. Qualifying closed Aug. 22.

District Attorney Phil Haney, who filed the petition, did not respond to requests for comment.