SHREVEPORT, LA - The Louisiana State Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case of Henry Whitehorn in the Caddo Sheriff's race legal battle. The justices have denied writs which keeps the lower court ruling in place.

Erin McCarty
Erin McCarty

What Does This Ruling Mean?

This means there will be a new election between Whitehorn and John Nickelson.

The state's high court posted the decision online denying the writ application which was filed by the Whitehorn team. Two of the justices dissented from this opinion saying they wanted to case to at least be heard by the court.

Whitehorn was asking the court to at least hear his arguments in an effort to get the lower court rulings overturned. The Caddo District Court ordered a new election and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with that opinion.

TSM submitted
TSM submitted

Whitehorn won the November election by just one vote, but the courts have ruled there is ample evidence of illegal votes and that could have changed the outcome.

Supreme Court Justice Scott Crichton, of Shreveport agreed with this denial joining with four other justices. He apparently believes the lower courts reached the correct decision in voiding the election results and ordering a new election.

Crichton Says:

The trial record in this case proves at least one illegality that renders the results of the election impossible to determine. Thus, I join the four other justices in denying the writ application in this matter because, in my view, the courts below reached the correct result in declaring the election void and ordering a new election.

Crichton Adds:

I write separately to express my grave concerns about the integrity of the election process which was laid bare in the trial contesting these results. Election officials’ testimony at trial revealed a substantial gap in compliance with statutory election code procedures. The Registrar of Voters testified that absentee ballots lacking signatures by either the voter or a witness, as required by law, see La. R.S. 18:1306; 18:1310, “slipped through the cracks” and were nevertheless counted. Signatures by the voter and witness can never be—and are not—mere ornaments. By verifying the identity of the elector, their purpose is to prevent abuses and assure accuracy in absentee voting.

Crichton says "In this case, a new election will ensure confidence in the final outcome."

Justice Genovese noted that 2nd Circuit Court Judge Shonda Stone said in her dissent of their ruling, “There can be no democracy without free and fair elections.”

"I agree; however, this election was not a free and fair election," Genovese said. "A one-vote margin of victory supported by clearly established eleven unqualified voters cannot be said to constitute a fair election. What is fair and essential to the candidates and the electorate, and to preserve election integrity, is to have a new runoff election with a winner decided by qualified voters.

Justice C.J. Weimer said he voted to grant the appeal and docket the case for oral arguments.

"A determination of who will serve as the chief law enforcement officer in Caddo Parish following an election with a one vote margin of victory (which was re-affirmed after a recount), and a court of appeal decision with a one vote margin, which includes a concurrence, deserves this court’s full attention with the litigants appearing before this court to publicly plead their positions in person," Weimer wrote.

The new election is now moving forward for March 23.

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