Last night, my friend Ken and I sat around a bunch of tables pushed together at Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI where we joined about 20 inmates for Bible study.
This is something I've done hundreds of times before in many different institutions around the state. In our prayers at the end of the study, we prayed for Bert Johnson of Detroit, a 32-year-old who has no opposition in his race to be a member of the Michigan House of Representatives.
What makes Johnson different is his status as an ex-con who pled no-contest to a charge about his role in a 1993 armed robbert at the Oakland Hills Country Club. He served less than a year in prison. He went to become a staffer in the Michigan House of Representatives and received high marks from everybody that was talked to.
Now House Speaker Craig Deroche and other Republicans want to bar him from serving in the House when the new-term starts in January.
I bet that Deroche nodded his head in affirmation when the Pennsylvania Amish publicly forgave a killer who murdered several of their children. The Amish and their actions served as a positive witness to everybody on forgiveness.
Candidate Johnson paid his debt. Speaker Deroche says the Michigan Constitution prohibits his serving. However, well-regarded Republican lawyer Richard McLellan disputes that interpretation, according to the Detroit Free Press:
"Richard McLellan, a Republican attorney in Lansing respect for his knowledge of state government, said in July that his research shows that opinions by the state attorney general have held that a breach of the public trust must be an act that is committed while in office and harms the public."
Technorati Tags: Michigan Democrats, Michigan Legislature, Craig DeRoche, Michigan House of Representatives, ex-offenders, crime
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