Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Make Way for CONVICTS in Public Office!? - Day 142 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

From Jefferson City comes an extremely troubling rumor - a Kansas City area Democrat is rumored to be attempting to remove laws barring felons and federal criminals from serving in elective office.

Right now, laws on Missouri's books attempt to prevent convicts from holding elected office in Missouri.
115.348. No person shall qualify as a candidate for elective public office in the state of Missouri who has been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony or misdemeanor under the federal laws of the United States of America.

115.350. No person shall qualify as a candidate for elective public office in the state of Missouri who has been convicted of or found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony under the laws of this state.

Unfortunately, the first law has been held unconstitutional because it was passed as part of a bill that violated the "single issue" rule for legislation. It was additionally found unconstitutional because, back in 2006, Missouri criminals were not prevented from serving in elective office, and it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. That flaw was subsequently remedied by 115.350.

The long and short of it is that we need our Missouri legislators to pass a new and clean version of 114.348. Instead, rumor has it that a Kansas City Democrat who has ties to James Tindall is working to loosen up the rules against criminals in elected office. Those rules laws need to be tightened, not loosened.

A lot of weird stuff gets passed in the late hours of a Missouri legislative session. Please, let's not use the legislative process to clear the way for more convicts in elective office for Missouri.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should we prevent someone from holding office if convicted of a misdemeanor under federal laws, but not prevent the same if convicted of a misdemeanor under the laws of Missouri?

I think conviction of, or pled guilty to, a felony under the laws of the United States, or the laws of the State of Missouri, should be sufficient.

A clause that would prevent anyone from holding public office, if convicted of a crime in any state, that would be considered to be a felony under the laws of Missouri, should be added.

4/28/2009 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that Crystal Williams has been making the rounds in Jefferson City and KC looking for support to run against Rizzo. This should be an interesting fall in 2010.

4/28/2009 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Crystal Williams works really hard, Rizzo will buy her out.
Not once has an opponent of Rizzo's survived to election day. Hint - hint.

4/28/2009 2:28 PM  
Blogger Phil Cardarella said...

Actually, why do we need either law? Do we think that there will be a groundswell of felons elected to office? And why shouldn't a person who has paid his debt to society be eligible for office -- if the voters want him or her?

We are all aware of the large number of young people who have gotten caught with drugs over the years. Should they all be barred from office? Why? Seriously, don't just grandstand, but give one rational argument why a guy who caught a drug charge at age 18 shouldn't be eligible to serve on the City Council at age 40.

Is a tax evasion charge worse? Or do we just want to make public policy based on personal dislike?

Actually, especially over the last few years, if the entire Legislature had been replaced by 170 inmates from Jeff City,chosen at random,the only perceivable difference would be less sanctimomious grandstanding and fewer bad laws passed.

Democracy is inconvenient in that voters often elect those we would not personally choose. Limiting the right of the voters to do so is ALWAYS a bad idea. And it usually has the unintended consequence of doing worse,

4/28/2009 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You make a good point.

There was a time when a felony was something really atrocious. Today, it can be that a prosecutor, pandering to the voters, charges you with a felony for what should have been considered an auto accident. After 9 months in jail, you enter an Alford Plea (even though you didn't do something criminal) just to get out. Should that felony haunt you for the rest of your life?

Some people that got in trouble at an early age turn out to be some of the best people in the community. The trick is how to identify which ones.

However, are we really so short, when it comes to finding people willing to serve, that we need to pick from ex-cons?

4/28/2009 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.I guess Dan wouldn't vote for MLK.

4/28/2009 10:08 PM  
Blogger Phil Cardarella said...

Remember when KKK' David Duke was running for Governor of Louisiana? People were urged to vote for the incumbant -- who was under indictment --with the motto "Vote for the crook. It's the RIGHT thing to do!"? Sometimes an ex-con IS the best person for the job, and ALWAYS it should be up to the VOTERS to decide.

The reference to MLK also struck another chord. The reality is that -- sometimes justifiably, sometimes not -- an awful lot of minority youth end up with felony convictions.

After all, our current President has confessed in his autobiography to having committed felonies in his youth. How lucky we all are that he did not get caught! No doubt his immediate predecessor did too, in his coke-fueled youth -- although W's family connections would have made prosecution less likely. Point is, a felony conviction may be the result of bad luck or bad timing as much as bad character. There but for the grace of God...

4/30/2009 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was dan tarwarter he was the one who cut crystal budget.

5/02/2009 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also heard that beings sly is in mayors race that albert is running against mike sanders

5/02/2009 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow just heard that Paul Levota is running against Sanders going to be a hot summer.

5/02/2009 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Sanders would dance with glee of Levota ran against him.

5/02/2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, of course you would find nothing wrong with a convicted felon holding office. They are easier to buy off. Oh wait, that didn't work in your wife's favor when she appointed Henry to the vacant seat that he still occupies.

Really nothing else needs to be said about your stance on this issue.

5/05/2009 2:28 PM  

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