Former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd’s decision Thursday to sign up as a legislative candidate in the Oct. 24 primary despite a past money-laundering conviction was challenged in court Monday.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office filed papers seeking to disqualify Shepherd as a candidate for the House of Representatives in District 87, citing a constitutional provision that prohibits convicted felons from running for state office within 15 years of being released from prison unless they’ve been pardoned.
Shepherd, who could not immediately be reached for comment Monday, said last week that he anticipated having to defend his candidacy. While he didn’t go into details, he said he would argue that the state constitutional amendment barring felons from elected office was never properly adopted and therefore should not apply.
The 46-year-old Democrat from Marrero was in his first term as a state senator in 2008 when he resigned and pleaded guilty to laundering more than $140,000 from the sale of fake bonds. He served two years in prison and was ordered to pay a $45,000 fine.
Before being elected to the Senate in a special election, Shepherd had served a partial term in the House.
The DA’s challenge to Shepherd’s candidacy will be heard Friday before Judge Stephen Enright, of 24th Judicial District Court, in Gretna. The suit asks that Shepherd be made to pay any court costs associated with challenging his candidacy.
Ebony Woodruff, a lawyer, is the incumbent in House District 87. She won election to the seat after Shepherd’s successor, Girod Jackson, resigned upon being charged with fraud and failure to pay taxes.
Joining Woodruff and Shepherd in the race is Rodney Lyons Sr., a retired road maintenance superintendent for Jefferson Parish government.