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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Candidate Elected to City Mayor Ineligible for Office Due to Past Felony Conviction

A court recently ruled that a candidate for the office of mayor was ineligible to serve or take the oath of office because of his previous felony conviction for mail fraud. People of the State of Illinois v. Roger Agpawa, 2018 IL App (1st) 171976. 

At the April 4, 2017 election, Agpawa received the most votes in the election for mayor of the City of Markham. The Cook County Clerk certified the election results and declared him the winner. Prior to his taking the oath of office, however, the Cook County State’s Attorney filed a lawsuit claiming that Agpawa was not eligible to serve as mayor or take the oath of office because of a prior felony conviction. 

The Illinois Municipal Code provides as follows:
a person is not eligible to take the oath of office for a municipal office if that person has been convicted in any court locate in the United States for any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony. 
The appellate court held that under this statute, Agpawa was not eligible to hold municipal office because of a prior felony conviction. The court noted that his eligibility for public office did not change simply because he received more votes than any other candidate on the ballot. The court also held that the right to run for or hold public office was not a fundamental right and that the state has an interest in ensuring public confidence in the honesty and integrity of those serving in local offices.

Post Authored by Jessi DeWalt, Ancel Glink


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