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!