A Baton Rouge lawyer who lost a recent City Court runoff by a 2-1 margin, then claimed in a lawsuit that the victor was too old to serve, was told this week that her appeal of a unanimous lower court ruling was filed too late.

The Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously refused Wednesday to consider Whitney Higginbotham Greene's challenge to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's 5-0 decision that refused to deem Johnell Matthews too old to serve and declare Greene the winner.

"I think it's fitting for this thing to go out like a dud," Matthews' attorney, Mary Olive Pierson, said Thursday. "It was frivolous. It was meant to harass Mrs. Matthews."

Matthews, who received 63% of the vote in the Aug. 15 runoff to Greene's 37%, was sworn in Sept. 9. The 1st Circuit issued its ruling Sept. 11.

State District Judge William Morvant had ruled Sept. 2 that Matthews was qualified to take office, despite turning 70 before the coronavirus-delayed runoff election and passing the mandatory retirement age for sitting judges.

In upholding Morvant's decision, the 1st Circuit said it could not overrule Matthews' judicial commission now that she has been sworn in. The appeals court also found that Greene was attacking Matthews' candidacy rather than the election itself — a matter that should have been addressed months before the race.

The Louisiana Constitution sets a mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges but allows them to serve out the remainder of their terms if they reach that age while in office.

The City Court election had initially been set for the spring, when Matthews was 69. The contest was reset for July because of the pandemic, and Matthews turned 70 before the new election day.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.