Third Circuit Court affirms Judge Swent’s ruling in Smith vs. Goins

Today, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Ninth Judicial Court Judge Rae Swent’s ruling that allows Jonathan Goins to run against Charles F. Smith for the District 3 council seat.

Smith and his attorneys contend that Goins doesn’t live in the District 3 area, but instead lives in an apartment complex off of Louisiana Highway 28 West.

Click here for the ruling:LA Third Circuit Court ruling on Smith vs. Goins

Alexandria Council passes resolution regarding Bentley Hotel

The Alexandria City Council voted 4 to 3 to pass a resolution that allows the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce’s executive board to discuss with the Second Century Benthle Group’s members the possibility of a public/private collaborative to “restore, renovate and reopen the historic Hotel Bentley in downtown Alexandria to a superior quality and service level reminiscence of its prior glory.”

Councilman Charles F. Smith was absent and Councilman Chuck Fowler voted against the resolution.

Fowler said he voted against the resolution because he didn’t have enough information.

“I had no other details other than what was presented. It seems like I was in the dark,” he said.

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A video of the meeting will be posted later today.

Charles F. Smith appeals Judge Swent’s decision about Goins qualification to run for District 3 council seat

Attorneys for Councilman Charles F. Smith today filed an appeal in the 3rd Circuit Court in an effort to overturn 9th Judicial Court Judge Rae Swent decision that allows Jonathan Goins to run for the Alexandria City Council seat that represents District 3.

On Wednesday, July 23, Swent ruled in Goins favor. Smith maintains that Goins doesn’t live in a Juliet Street home, which is in District 3. Smith claims Goins lives in an apartment off of Louisiana Highway 28 West.

Swent found that Goins does indeed spend lots of time at his apartment, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t maintain Juliet Street as his primary residence.

Jonathan D. Goins does qualify to run for District 3 seat

Jonathan D. Goins can run for City Council District 3.

Judge Rae Swent ruled in favor of Goins, who can run against Charles F. Smith for the District 3 Council seat.

The judge’s ruling came about 5 minutes after closing arguments, in which Smith’s attorney, George Gaienne III, suggested the low use of electricity, water and gas indicated Goins didn’t live in the Juliet Street home and should not be qualified to seek to represent District 3 on the Alexandria City Council.
Goin’s attorney, Thomas Davenport, agreed that Goins does have an alternate residence on Louisiana Highway 28 West, but it is used for business purposes.

“Do not punish this young man because he doesn’t want to take business clients to the hood,” Davenport asked the judge.

Swent did as Davenport asked. She ruled that it’s not necessary to sleep at a home every night for that residence to be considered a primary residence.

“I don’t believe that it was their primary residence, but they were going there all of the time,” Swent said.

“Goins did take up another apartment, but he didn’t stop his mail, change his voter registration. His preference is to maintain contact with the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, Goins said he is grateful for the outcome, but he is upset that it had to end up in court.

“I’m appalled that Charles Fredrick Smith had to go through this length to hire a private investigator to go through my grandmother’s and mother’s private things. It’s a violation of the privacy of two elderly women who have been voting in this district for years.”

Smith vs. Goins to be decided Wednesday, July 23

District Judge Rae Swent will hear closing arguments in the civil case that pits Alexandria Council District 3 incumbent Charles F. Smith against Jonathan D. Goins, an attorney who wants Smith’s seat.

Smith claims Goins doesn’t live in the Juliet Street home, which is in District 3, but instead lives in an apartment complex located off of Louisiana Highway 28 West.

Swent sent attorneys from both sides home with an assignment to review two cases she cited and bring back written summaries. She intends to make a decision after hearing and reviewing those summaries.

Much of today’s testimony centered on whether or not sufficient enough water, gas and electricity was being used in the Juliet Street home, which would indicate that someone was living in the residence on a regular basis.

Expert witness testimony doesn’t look good for Goins

Please let me begin by saying that it’s 2:41 p.m. and there’s much more testimony to be heard in Charles F. Smith challenge of Jonathan Goins’ run for the District 3 seat.

This hearing in Judge Swent’s office has the be the biggest happening today in Central Louisiana. Everyone who is anyone has made an appearance to the court. City Councilmen Roosevelt Johnson and Louis Marshall dropped in this morning, as did several attorneys. Mayor Jacques Roy and Police Chief Darren Coutee made appearances this afternoon.

From what I’m hearing and seeing, this case seems to be swinging in Charles F. Smith’s direction. I say that because Smith’s expert witness, Mark Marcotte, the city’s superintendent of utility. Based on an analysis of the water, gas and electricity usage and billing, Marcotte seems to be concluding it “doesn’t appear there is sufficient enough use to indicate occupancy.”

Again, let me say there’s much more to be heard in this case.

Be back shortly!

Jonathan Goins: Juliet Street or Provine Street?

Councilman Charles F. Smith accuses his challenger, Attorney Jonathan Goins, of living somewhere that is not in District 3 for which Smith represents.

Apparently, on Monday, July 21, Smith’s attorneys, a photographer and an expert witness, inspected Goins Provine Street home to determine whether or not the large appliances used an amount of electricty that would suggest someone lived more in the apartment or somewhere else. The expert witness was Alexandria’s superintendent of electricity.

Jonathan Goins acknowledges that he does have two residences, one at 5445 Provine St., and the other at 3327 Juliet St., which he claims is his primary residence.

Apparently, Smith’s team has video showing Goins’comings and goins from both residences.

Judge Swent is hearing the case.

Stay tuned.