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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can someone with a criminal record run for office? Very good question!

That question appeared a comment to my post:

"MONDAY, MAY 16, 2011

The answer turned out long:

The simple answer is yes.

A criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from office. Only a felony conviction can disqualify a person from office.

Any number of misdemeanor convictions does not disqualify a person from office.

No matter how far back that felony is it disqualifies the person from office.


It's important to note that one or two convictions for Driving Under the Influence is a misdemeanor but if that person is convicted a third time (within I believe a 10 year period) for DUI that third conviction is a felony and that person then is then not qualified to hold office.
The answer to "Can someone with a criminal record run for office?" is incomplete without looking at how a candidate gets on the ballot.
"First day to circulate and file nomination petitions February 15" 
"Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions March 8"

"First day to circulate and file nomination papers March 9" 
"Last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions March 23" 
FROM:Important Dates for 2011
That last date March 23, 2011 was not just the last date for the withdraw of a candidate it's also the last day to have someone not appear on a ballot because he or she is not qualified in some manner to hold office.

If somehow you are sure, say about March 1, 2011, that a person is running for office and you are sure that person is not qualified for any reason for that office you can hire an attorney and have about 20 days to go to court to tell a judge about it.

But there is usually an air of secrecy about running for office. So, it will probably be a few days after March 9, 2011 or so when the petitions are officially in before you know who actually is running.

If someone has lived in the same place a long time you might be aware he or she may have a felony conviction. Remember that while a court case may begin with multiple felony offenses, plea bargains may reduce all the charges to misdemeanors. That means a recollection of a possible criminal offense that might disqualify a candidate won't do. You need hard facts provable in court and that means court records.

If the alleged felony conviction goes back less than 15 years and it's in Pennsylvania it's not hard to find criminal records in 7 or 8 working days.

The minimum residency requirement for running for local office is one year. So a candidate could have lived in another state. I believe that not every state has an on line criminal records check. So it might not be easy to get the court records of someone who has lived in another state. If someone has say, 2 AKAs (Patsy Ray has 2 AKAs) it’s more difficult to get the correct records. 

When you are looking into the past of a candidate from out of state or with a murky backround and since you only have about 7 or so working days to find information about a candidate, that means in addition to hiring an attorney you also need to hire a private detective.

In the run-up to the 2005 elections in Coatesville Pat Sellers, Ernie Campos, Bob Saucier and others threw up several candidates for Coatesville City Council to see which one of them stuck.  We went to Cloud, Freehry & Richter Detective Agency to check them out. One of those candidates did have a felony conviction but did not get anywhere in the election.

If by some chance no one invests into checking for a criminal record and March 24, 2011 comes around and the process of making up the ballots begins; felony conviction or not that person will be on the ballot.

If by some chance a person with a felony conviction wins an election and takes office it might take months of legal work to have them removed.

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