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Change Would Remove Official When Found Guilty

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment would remove any state, county or municipal official from office when he or she is found guilty of a crime and not wait until after sentencing.

The Maryland constitutional amendment was introduced on Tuesday by Delegates Jolene Ivey, Michael Vaughn and Melony Griffith, who are Prince George’s County Democrats. It’s being cross-filed in the state Senate by Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore County.

Last year, Leslie Johnson, a member of the Prince George’s County Council, returned to the council after she had pleaded guilty to destroying evidence in a federal case against her husband, former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. She had planned to stay in office until her sentencing at the end of the year, but she resigned under pressure from county officials.

The constitutional amendment, which would need to be approved by Maryland voters in November, would apply when an official is either convicted or pleads guilty to a crime that currently requires removal from office at sentencing.

A constitutional amendment requires a three-fifths vote in the House of Delegates and the Senate. That’s 85 in the House and 29 in the Senate.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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