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Monday, January 8, 2024

Court Disqualifies Township Trustee From Office Over Felony Conviction

An Illinois Appellate Court recently held that a township trustee was disqualified from holding township office because of a prior felony conviction. People v. Zimel

Under the Township Code, any person convicted of “any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony” is disqualified from holding a township office. In April 2021, a candidate was elected as a township trustee. In June 2021, the State asked the newly elected trustee to establish that he was not convicted of a felony or to resign from office, but he did neither. The State then filed a lawsuit to disqualify him from office, and the trial court ruled in the State’s favor. The trustee appealed.

The Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s decision on several grounds. First, the Appellate Court rejected the trustee's argument that the State delayed filing their lawsuit or that there was a statute of limitations that barred the lawsuit. The Court also held that the State was not required to challenge the township official’s candidacy prior to, or at the time of, the election. Finally, the Court determined that the trustee's conviction for "intimidation" qualified as an “other felony” under the Township Code which disqualifies a person from township office.   

Post Authored by Daniel Lev, Ancel Glink


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