MI Supreme Court: Convictions Stemming From Tribal Government Post Don't Impede Run For City Council

Jul 9, 2019

Michigan Supreme Court Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The Michigan Supreme Court says the state’s tribal governments do not fall under a constitutional provision that can prevent some people from running for office.  Cheyna Roth has more.

Fred Paquin was on the board of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians governing body.  He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

If a person has a felony involving dishonesty, fraud, etc. that stems from their position of employment in local, state, or federal government they can’t run for state or local office.  

Paquin committed the crime, but he argued that he could still run for city council.  He said that was because he was a member of a tribe…which doesn’t fall under the categories in the constitution.  

The Michigan Supreme Court agreed.  It said to call a tribe a local government would “reach for a strained interpretation of that term.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org