ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Delegate Tiffany Alston was effectively removed from office last month when she was sentenced for misconduct and waived her rights to appeal in a plea agreement, Attorney General Doug Gansler wrote in an opinion Tuesday.
The opinion supports an earlier one by counsel to the Legislature that Alston was removed from office Oct. 9 after being sentenced for misconduct in office related to paying an employee in her private law firm $800 in state money.
Alston, D-Prince George’s, has maintained through her attorneys that she should be able to keep her seat in the House of Delegates because a judge modified her conviction to probation before judgment after she fulfilled certain requirements, including payment of restitution and community service.
“The trial court’s exercise of its revisory power, however, does not amount to a determination that the conviction was wrongly imposed, as would be the case if the trial court’s judgment were `reversed or overturned’ on appeal,” Gansler and Adam Snyder, chief counsel of opinions and advice, wrote.
In a separate legal opinion, Dan Friedman, counsel to the Legislature, responded to an inquiry by Delegate Jolene Ivey, who asked if the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee may withdraw the nomination of a person to fill a vacancy at the end of its 30-day nomination period.
The committee has nominated Greg Hall for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s consideration to fill Alston’s seat.
O’Malley late last week asked the committee to reconsider Hall’s nomination, pending Gansler’s opinion.
Friedman wrote that the committee may withdraw the nomination, but it may not submit another binding nomination.
“It will, of course, still be free to recommend a new person to fill that vacancy and the Governor will be free to consider that recommendation and give it appropriate weight in making his decision,” Friedman wrote.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)