UPDATED SEPT. 17 - The candidacy for one man seeking to become governor of Louisiana ended when a state judge in Baton Rouge ruled the man's recent felony conviction barred him from seeking public office.
As a result, state District Judge Kay Bates yesterday ordered that Vincent Mark Castillo of St. Rose be removed from the October 20th ballot. Castillo said he will appeal the ruling.
Castillo admitted in court he was convicted on two counts of attempted extortion and served time in a state penitentiary.
Castillo claims the Louisiana Constitution has conflicting provisions when it comes to who can qualify to run for public office.
But, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Doug Moreau argued there is a constitutional provision that addresses Castillo's situation directly.
Moreau said that section of the state constitution only allows convicted felons to run for public office if they receive a pardon from the governor or if more than 15 years have passed since their prison sentence was completed.
According to his MySpace site, Castillo owns a roofing company in St. Rose, which lies on the Mississippi River just west of New Orleans. In 2003 he filed a lawsuit against the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office. A lower court ruled in favor of the parish. Earlier this year the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn the ruling. The Louisiana Supreme Court refused to hear the case.