SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A state appeals court has overturned one of two abuse of power convictions against the former mayor of a northwest Louisiana town.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that there was no proof that Joseph Alexander used his position as mayor of Cotton Valley to pressure police in the nearby town of Cullen to not arrest him for possessing marijuana in 2017.
However, KTBS-TV reports the court found there was sufficient evidence that Alexander coerced the Cotton Valley town clerk months later to give him a $500 check for a personal trip. Alexander claimed the money was meant to buy a used stove and refrigerator for a community center.
The court sent the case back to district court for resentencing.
Alexander was tried in May 2019 on three counts of abuse of office, with a district judge convicting him on two counts after a bench trial.
Alexander was sentenced to a year in prison and three years of supervised probation. The former mayor appealed, arguing the sentence was excessive and mitigating factors weren’t adequately considered.
Alexander’s term as mayor was set to expire on Dec. 31. The secretary of state lists the position as vacant. Ashley Williams-Jones was elected as the next mayor of Cotton Valley on Nov. 3.
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