SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A hearing has wrapped up in Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins‘ appeal of a ruling earlier this week disqualifying him from the mayor’s race.

The hearing before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals got underway at 11 a.m. and lasted about 40 minutes.

Perkins is appealing the ruling handed down Tuesday by Caddo District Judge Brady O’Callaghan in a lawsuit filed late last week challenging Perkins’ candidacy based on inaccurate residence address and voter registration on Perkins’ election-qualifying paperwork.

The 65-page lawsuit claimed Perkins lives in a condominium on Marshall Street in downtown Shreveport and uses Louisiana’s homestead exemption for that residence, but was registered to vote using an address on Stratmore Circle. In his Notice of Candidacy filing on July 22, Perkins certified the Stratmore address in south Shreveport as his residence instead of the address of the condo where he claims his homestead exemption in downtown Shreveport.

Perkins changed his voter registration to his downtown address on Saturday, July 30, the day after the lawsuit was filed.

Louisiana law dictates that unless a candidate is in a nursing home, veterans’ home, or is running for the U. S. House or Senate, they must be registered to vote from the same address where they claim the homestead exemption.

Perkins argues the discrepancy was the result of a minor clerical error and on Tuesday said the ruling added up to voter suppression.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals gave the attorneys on both sides of the issue until 3 p.m. Thursday to file briefs on what their arguments would be. However, because the appeal was filed by Perkins, the attorneys representing Frances Deal, the Shreveport man who was the plaintiff in the suit that disqualified Perkins, had no idea what points they would be arguing.

Nevertheless, Jerry Harper and Anne Wilkes who represented Deal, presented an argument following Perkins’ attorney Scott Bickford’s 20-minute appeal.

In that argument, Bickford told the three-judge panel comprised of Judge Shondra D. Stone from Shreveport, Jeff R. Thompson from Bossier City, and Chief Judge D. Milton Moore III from Monroe, that it had been established that the “mayor didn’t (lie on his candidate qualification form) on purpose,” and that none of the errors on the form were “profound.”

In the petition presented filed in Caddo District Court, attorneys cited a West Monroe challenge on the same basis in which a mayoral candidate was disqualified. The man used an address in West Monroe rather than the address where he took his homestead exemption in the parish.

He appealed it to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the trial court’s decision. (Sellar vs. Nance, 336 So3d103 (2022). Bickford told the Second Circuit panel those judges “were wrong.”

Because Bickford cited some requirements to run for office out of the Shreveport City Charter, Moore asked him if he could produce some evidence that the City Charter “takes precedence over Title 19 (Louisiana law)?” Bickford said no.

Stone also asked Bickford if Perkins had used the erroneous Stratford Circle address on his July 23, 2020, candidate form when he qualified to run for the U.S. Senate and Bickford said yes. Perkins bought his downtown Shreveport condominium in May 2019.

While Bickford argued that Perkins’ made a “mistake” on his candidate form, when Harper took the lectern, he said “the record reflects five, maybe six misstatements in the notice of candidacy,” that included swearing under oath that he met the qualifications of candidacy, as well as that he was a “qualified elector” (voter), that all elements in the form were true and correct, and finally, the address discrepancy.

Although he referred to case law to argue against Bickford’s assertion that the “judges were wrong” in the Monroe case, for the most part, Harper kept his argument focused on Louisana’s Title 18 and election laws, which Bickford had called ambiguous during his argument.

Harper countered that argument by saying, “The Louisiana Legislature doesn’t make mistakes, it makes laws.”

The court’s ruling must be rendered within 24 hours after the hearing ended, which means the ruling is due by 11:39 a.m. Monday, due to the weekend.

If the ruling stands, Perkins will continue to serve as the mayor of Shreveport until his term ends this year when the winner of the mayor’s race is sworn into office.