- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Orleans Parish Criminal Court Judge Frank Marullo Jr. has survived an initial challenge to his seeking a sixth term.

Marullo, 74, is running against lawyers Graham Bosworth, Brigid Collins, Rudy Gorrell and Marie Williams.

Lance McCardle, the attorney for three New Orleans voters who want Marullo’s name off the Nov. 4 ballot, told Nola.comThe Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1qTcGqk ) that an appeal will be filed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Civil District Judge Kern Reese ruled Friday Marullo is qualified to run for another term and his age didn’t threaten his eligibility as a candidate.

Reese said the state constitution has only two qualifications for judicial candidates: that they live in the district where they want to run and that they have practiced law for at least eight years.

“Notably absent from the list of qualifications is any restriction on age,” Reese wrote.

Gov. Edwin Edwards appointed Marullo to the criminal court bench in September 1974, less than four months before the 1974 constitution went into effect on Jan. 1, 1975. The 1974 constitution lowered that limit to 70, but softened the rules to let judges who turn 70 while in office finish their terms.

Under the 1921 constitution, no judge could serve after turning 75.

Marullo argued that the 1921 constitution applied to him.

Reese said the drafters of the 1974 constitution made sure it would not take away any rights that sitting judges at the time enjoyed. He included Marullo in that number.

Reese also left alone a parallel argument in the suit that Marullo, who turns 75 on Dec. 31, will have to leave office that day under the 1921 law. Reese said that only the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to remove a sitting judge.

Louisiana voters will decide in November whether to repeal the retirement age for judges.

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