- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Louisiana Supreme Court has disqualified the only candidate running to unseat Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, securing a second term for the incumbent.

The New Orleans Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1uoQ1FC ) the state’s high court, reversing decisions from two lower courts, ruled Wednesday that Lionel “Lon” Burns cannot run for the position because he could not prove that he had filed his tax returns for the last four years - a requirement for all candidates.

Cannizzaro, in a statement, said that Burns, a former prosecutor, called him after the ruling to congratulate him on winning another six-year term.

“The Louisiana Supreme Court’s ruling puts this issue to rest once and for all,” Cannizzaro said. “I am looking forward to moving from this campaign and focusing 100 percent of my time and attention to addressing the criminal justice issues that are facing this city.”

Earlier this month, Civil District Court Judge Tiffany Chase ruled that Burns had filed his taxes to the “best of his knowledge,” having hired a tax preparer who testified that she dropped the returns off at a post office. A panel of judges for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal backed that ruling in a split vote.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled that both lower courts overlooked language in state law that spells out when tax returns should actually be considered “filed.” The law says they are only technically filed once they have been “delivered by the United States Postal Service” to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. A state employee testified at the original trial that the department had not received tax filings from Burns since 2009.

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Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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