Sunday, April 6, 2008

Arkansas: Clemency for No Conviction?

The 2006 mayoral election for Altus - where Gary Zolliecoffer thumped incumbent Veronica Post by a vote of 136 to 123 - is shaking up the political world. Zolliecoffer is accused of having violated state law by signing a pledge indicating he had never been convicted of a felony. Indeed, he was disqualified from office on the finding that he was convicted of burglary and grand larceny in 1965, when he was a mere lad, sixteen years of age. Zolliecoffer's attorney insists court files do not include a signed judgment and that there is no proof of a conviction. But, it is now reported that Zolliecoffer applied to a court for clemency in 2006, admitting to the crime in the accompanying paperwork. The Franklin County Election Commission has declared Zolliecoffer the official winner. But lawyers for Post note that he must be "commissioned” by Gov. Mike Beebe. That is to say, a document must be presented saying the mayor-elect is certified as rightful winner and entitled to be mayor. To date, that has not happened. See full story here. See additional background here and here.

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