New trial for ex-Louisiana councilwoman in election theft

A state appeal court has ordered a new trial for a former north Louisiana town councilwoman convicted of stealing $39,000 from town water payments before her election.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal says there was enough evidence to support Patricia Hampton's conviction last year on a charge of felony theft. But it says prosecutors improperly kept two African-Americans from serving on the jury that convicted Hampton, who is black. It also says the judge improperly refused a hearing on her lawyer's objection to the decisions.

Assistant District Attorney Russell Davis tells KTBS-TV that the Bienville Parish District Attorney's Office is asking for a rehearing.

Hampton was elected to the Arcadia Town Council while charges were pending against her. She was suspended when convicted and did not run for re-election.