26 March 2008

third circuit affirms judge davidson's ruling in fuel plus llc v rapides parish police jury et al

click here to download five page .pdf
this is the case to allow alcohol sales in certain parts of north rapides parish. it turned on a louisiana state supreme court opinion in sabine parish police jury versus commissioner of alcohol & tobacco control [thirty page .pdf] however, the third circuit didnt buy that argument:
The case before us differs from Sabine, in certain respects. In Sabine the local option election took place before the redistricting of the parish into election districts, that redistricting resulted in a “dry” ward becoming part of an otherwise “wet” election district. In the case before us, the local option election took place after the redistricting, included the entire parish, and after the election, all of Election District A had voted to remain dry.

Although the parish-wide election allowed voters to determine whether their ward, rather than their election district, would allow sale of alcoholic beverages, the result, as it affects the parties to this case, is that Election District A chose to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, the argument that the election should have been held on the basis of election districts rather than wards is based, in this case, on a distinction without a difference. In either case, the voters of Election District A have chosen to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages.

La.R.S. 26:583 makes it clear that its purpose is that the sale of alcoholic beverages be allowed or prohibited “only in an entire ward, election district, or incorporated municipality and not in any portion thereof.” Therefore, as it pertains to Election District A, the purpose of the statute has been achieved.