Challenges filed in St. John judge election

Published 12:59 pm Thursday, September 4, 2014

By Stephen Hemelt

EDGARD — Much uncertainty surrounds the race for Division B judge in St. John the Baptist Parish, where one candidate has been disqualified, another has been challenged and both decisions are scheduled for appeal early next week.

Judge Mary Becnel currently holds the seat and is seeking re-election. She is being challenged by Mona Joseph and Rob Snyder, two other Democrats from LaPlace.

Eliana DeFrancesch, 40th Judicial District Clerk of Court, said Snyder filed challenges against Becnel and Joseph, indicating each failed to qualify correctly.

“Tuesday, the judge rendered a decision and stated Judge Becnel did the right things, everything was fine and she is still qualified,” DeFrancesch said. “But, (the judge) disqualified Ms. Mona Joseph because of qualifying (irregularities).”

DeFrancesch said Joseph is filing an appeal of her disqualification, while Snyder is filing an appeal of the Becnel decision.

DeFrancesch said the appeals would be filed officially in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by Saturday, with a decision expected by late Monday or Tuesday.

Each candidate could further appeal the Appeals Court’s decisions to the Louisiana Supreme Court if they so choose, DeFrancesch said.