Should Convicted Criminals be Allowed to Run for Congress?

This poster, showing Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona well illustrates the matter of what to do when law enforcement engages in civil disobedience. Should they be treated as any other citizen? Or should there be a higher standard? Image credit: Arizona New Times




Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted criminal, is making news again, this time because he has announced his intention to run for the Congress of the United States. This comes at a time when much is up for grabs in DC and Arizona has a vacancy the elderly Arpaio may fill. Yet, Arpaio is not the only convicted criminal on the ballots in 2018 — four other persons with criminal convictions are wanting to make the laws in America.

This raises the question,

“Should convicted criminals be allowed to run for Congress?

Should Convicted Criminals be Allowed to Run for Congress?

 

Although the Constitution allows them to run, those persons with serious criminal convictions should be excluded by vote. The electorate supporting such persons should look deep into their values and ask if it is wise to elect anyone  to a law-making position who shows no respect for the rule of law?

Technically, nearly every American citizen is by the strictest definition, a criminal. The only difference between someone who drives over the speed limit (a crime) and someone who murders another is the degree of criminality. Yet, both ARE criminals by definition because both have broken the law — it matters not if someone is caught. If a crime is committed, the person doing the crime is properly defined criminal.

That said, there are five persons running for Congress in 2018 who are convicted criminals. Each was arrested and was convicted. Yet, there are DEGREES of separation between each. Few will argue that a criminal murderer is FAR worse that a speeder. So, those electing Congress in their state for 2018 would do well to weight the degree and the type of crime.



Criminals on the Ballots for Election 2018

In 2018, the citizens of five states will have to decide whether the degree of criminal behavior is sufficient to reject a candidate for Congress. Following are the five running and their crime.

  • Don Blankenship – Misdemeanor conviction for his role in circumventing safety laws which led to the deaths of 29 of his workers in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine accident. West Virginia, Do we want this guy having a hand in making the safety laws, especially for miners?
  • Joe Arpaio – Convicted in July 2017 of criminal contempt of court for ignoring an Arizona judges lawful order to cease and desist from illegally arresting and detaining people. Do we REALLY want a member of Congress with ZERO respect for law passing laws?
  • David Alcorn was convicted of Stalking. Hmm. He may fit into Congress perfectly. New Mexico will decide this one and should ask, Do you want a member of Congress deciding how to confront the serious issues of stalking and the related matter of bullying?
  • Greg Gianforte is already serving after having won a special election in 2017. Strangely, just prior to his victory he body slammed a reporter for which he received a misdemeanor conviction for assault. Montana, Do you REALLY want someone with so little self-control that he will be passing the laws under which we all must live?
  • Michael Grimm, former congressman, was convicted of Felony Tax Evasion. He is running in 2018 and the state of New York must ask, Do we want a thief making tax code? Admittedly, this is a tough one.

The fact is that the United States Constitution is silent on the matter of criminals on the ballots. This could be in part because under English law at the time, nearly all colonial citizens were considered criminal and if not, could be on a whim. Not all that unlike the United States 2018. Were there criminals in Congress in 1776?

Criminals in Congress in 1776

When the Declaration of Independence was signed, each signatory automatically became a traitor to England — they instantly became criminals.

In fact, their very meeting for the purpose of separating from England was criminal, so even before the Revolution, they were acting in a criminal way, making them, under English law, criminals.

Yet, again we must consider degrees of criminality and whether doing a crime is really a crime. For instance, few would argue that Rosa Parks, in sitting where she did on that bus, was right. However, she also became a criminal and carried that record for life. Now deceased, her record has been cleared.

Should Convicted Criminals be Allowed to Run for Congress?

This poster, showing Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona well illustrates the matter of what to do when law enforcement engages in civil disobedience. Should they be treated as any other citizen? Or should there be a higher standard? Image credit: Arizona New Times
This poster, showing Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona well illustrates the matter of what to do when law enforcement engages in civil disobedience. Should Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court (the law) be entrusted with making law? Image credit: Arizona New Times

The fact is that the Constitution of the United States does not preclude those with a criminal conviction running for public office. These people are still citizens and are afforded the rights of any other.

Yet, we must consider as an electorate whether we want persons passing the laws of the nation who respect and uphold the law or we simply do not care. The choice is ours, but the following adage applies…

“We get what we ask for.”

If we elect criminals, we should not be surprised if the State of the Union is negatively affected. Think about that come election day 2018.



CJOakes
President, Publisher at Oakes Media Group
C J Oakes is an author and freelance writer from Lubbock, TX, USA. In addition to this website, he operates OakesWriting.com and BuyLocalLubbock.com.

As an author, he has numerous books to his credit including the best-selling Survive and Thrive After the Collapse of the Dollar series. In addition, he has written over a hundred books for clients since 2011 and has created innumerable web pages for law firms and others worldwide.

Passionate about Justice, Mr. Oakes believes that the scales of justice are never balanced, but it is the duty of each citizen to do their part to re-calibrate the scales as needed. When the scales of justice shift too far to one side, they must be returned a near as possible to center.

He built this site with the goal of helping students of criminal justice understand how to apply the principles needed for re-calibrating the scales as well as providing easy access to needed study resources.

Criminal Justice Law International welcomes guest posts and anyone interested in contributing to the goals of the site.

This site is owned by Oakes Media Group.

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