Sunday, September 23, 2012

New York: Pardon O'Hara Already!

John O'Hara visits this blog from time to time and we are proud to have him as a reader. He also catches typos like it's nobody's business! But, today, O'Hara has to be satisfied that the New York Daily News is taking notice of other, more serious errors.

The News hopes "wisdom and the law" will convince District Attorney Cy Vance that "there are no grounds for action against three children of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who vote in his lower East Side district while living elsewhere." Why? New York’s election statute requires voters to cast ballots where they "reside." But the definition of residence "covers a whole lot of territory." For example, while discussing "permanent and principal" homes, it also allows voters to remain registered if they move, but “always intends to return.”

And, the News suggests, "absent evidence of fraud [a] prosecutor should leave the policing of elections to others." Says the News:
In the 1990s, John O’Hara, a political gadfly and thorn in the side of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, moved out of his home and in with his girlfriend, who lived 14 blocks away in the same neighborhood. He changed his registration to the new address and voted several times. DA Joe Hynes indicted O’Hara in 1996 on charges of violating the residency rule and hounded him through three trials before winning a felony conviction in 1999. The verdict was upheld. O’Hara was disbarred as a lawyer and sentenced to community service. In 2009, O’Hara won a measure of vindication when his law license was restored on a finding that there were “grave doubts that Mr. O’Hara did anything that justified his criminal prosecution.” A panel of lawyers added: “Mr. O’Hara, accurately, it appears, claims that the machine went gunning for him.” Then-Gov. David Paterson declined to pardon O’Hara. He was wrong to turn him down. Gov. Cuomo can rectify the injustice done to O’Hara after Vance refrains from acting against Silver’s offspring for the exact conduct that subjected O’Hara to overzealous and selective prosecution.
To which PardonPower says "Bravo! Right on! Pardon John O'Hara, Mr. Governor! Now!" See complete story here. Sign O'Hara's Online Petition here !

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