People run for local political offices because they want to make a difference in their communities. They are called to help build the world they want to live in. But having a past criminal record can get in the way of those ambitions.
Take what's currently happening in East Huntington, Pennsylvania. The campaigns of Jonathan Newill Perkey, a candidate for township supervisor, and Tina Curry-Bashioum, who is running to join the township's board of auditors, have come under scrutiny for felony convictions that occurred nearly two decades ago.
While both candidates are running unopposed for their elected positions, the fact that both have been convicted of an “infamous” crime bars them from holding public office under Pennsylvania law. Article II of the Pennsylvania State Constitution mandates that a conviction for a felony counts as an “infamous” crime – and should, therefore, disqualify an individual from holding public office, even if elected.
While Perkey told reporters to speak to his attorney, Curry-Bashioum was more forthright when asked about her past criminal record. She said that her convictions could be chalked up to youthful indiscretions – and that she is a different person now and “qualified for [the board of auditors] job, absolutely.”
Expunging Your Past Record to Protect Your Future
Although it's all but guaranteed that both Perkey and Curry-Bashioum will be elected since they are running unopposed, the Westmoreland County District Attorney can seek court intervention to remove them from office based on their past crimes. She has done so in the past – and a spokesperson said she is likely to do it in both Perkey and Curry-Bashioum's cases. It is possible, however, in both cases, the candidates would have been eligible to keep their seats if they had only had their criminal records expunged before running for office.
In the state of Pennsylvania, individuals can petition the court to have their records expunged. The court is likely to grant this request if any charges were withdrawn, dismissed, or you were found not guilty in a court of law. However, even if you were convicted of a crime, you may still be eligible for expungement under certain circumstances. An experienced criminal defense attorney can look into your case to determine whether you meet the criteria.
Finding a Way to Serve
Many people make mistakes in their youth – and those mistakes shouldn't automatically disqualify them from holding political office. If you have a criminal past but would still like to serve your community in an elected capacity, the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team may be able to help you expunge your record.
They can determine whether you are eligible for expungement and walk you through all the steps necessary to petition the court.
The Lento Law Firm understands that your past shouldn't dictate your future. To learn more about expungement, call the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online to discuss your case.