District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced today that the 10th Judicial District Court has ruled in the matter regarding the domicile of Campti Mayor Monzella Jeanetter Bell.
Upon two complaints from registered voters in Campti alleging Bell did not reside in the jurisdictional limits of the town, District Attorney Harrington filed suit to declare the office vacant. The suit stated that Bell does not meet the qualifications and continuing domiciliary requirements to hold the office as Mayor.
In the trial proceedings, Bell testified that she did not reside or have a domicile within the jurisdictional limits of Campti at the time of candidate qualification and election.
The court’s ruling stated that Bell was never a resident or a domiciliary in within the municipal limits of Campti.
10th Judicial District Court Judge Desiree Dyess presided over the trial and issued the court ruling. Bell has five days in which she can appeal the District Court’s ruling.
Harrington stated, “This complaint was brought to our attention by two Campti registered voters. After our investigation found that the Mayor did not reside within the town limits, our office was required by law to file the petition. The court considered all the evidence and testimony presented in trial and ruled accordingly.
This matter has created an opportunity for all other elected officials in the parish to understand the residency requirements set in law and to ensure compliance.”
Assistant District Attorney Steven P. Mansour represented the District Attorney’s Office in the case.