Convicted felon Derrick Shepherd’s case against the Louisiana statute that prevented him from running for the state House last month will get its day before the Louisiana Supreme Court on Dec. 8.Even though Shepherd was disqualified from this election, his case still matters. There's no reasonable call for limiting the civil rights of ex-offenders.. not to mention limiting voters' choices for such and extended period. Derrick Shepherd is a terrible person. We should have the option of voting against him. That's democracy.
Not that it will do him much good: Shepherd was disqualified and had to watch as Rodney Lyons Sr. defeated incumbent Ebony Woodruff for the District 87 seat that Shepherd used to hold.
Shepherd, who served two years in prison after pleading guilty to public corruption charges in 2008, challenged the 1997 constitutional amendment barring convicted felons who served jail time from running for state and local office for 15 years. But he could not get a final ruling on his challenge in time for last month’s election.
The amendment that prohibits terrible candidates like Shep from participating should be stricken from the Louisiana constitution. Not only is it an arbitrary check on voting rights, but, as Shepherd's attorney points out, the reason it exists at all, is political pandering based in racism.
Garrity, also a former legislator, slammed the law as a hypocritical appeal to voters by politicians who have let real issues such as the budget and funding for mental health services and the disabled go unaddressed.
“They don’t have the (guts) to focus on what the real problem is,” he said. “They want to go home and tell lily-white Metairie, ‘I’m tough on crime.’ ”