A new Mississippi law says that convicted felons cannot serve on county executive committees; however, some Mississippi officials are saying that the law cannot be retroactively applied to them.
The elected officials, who are fighting against retroactive application of the new law, are convicted felons, but they were already in office before the law went into effect. For now, these men -- including longtime Democratic political operative, Ike Brown -- are being permitted to continue service on their respective committees.
Ike Brown was convicted by a U.S. District Judge in 2007 of violating white voters’ rights and discrimination against white voters. He is staunchly claiming that the new law does not apply to him. According to the politician, those advocating for his removal and the creators of the new measure are his political opponents.
Politicians Will Stay on Their Committees for Now
Ike Brown and two other convicted felons are currently serving as Mississippi Democratic Party officials. In August of this year, each of them received a letter from the Mississippi Democratic Party notifying them of their termination from the Democratic Executive Committee. Nevertheless, it was later determined that proper procedure had not been followed in their removal, including their right to due process, and the politicians were allowed to remain on their committees.
Those in favor of the men not being removed say that they were elected to the committees in 2012, which was two years before the new law was enacted, and no one has challenged their election. There is also the fact that the new law only went into effect on July 1, 2014, which was long after the men had been serving on their committees.
Mississippi Attorney General Disagrees
Mississippi’s state Attorney General disagrees. In an opinion released last June, the Attorney General stated that the law prohibits any felon from being a member of a county party executive committee. The state law, Mississippi House Bill 874, was passed by the legislature in June and approved by Gov. Phil Bryant this year. Critics of the measure believe that the primary goal of the measure was, in fact, the ousting of Ike Brown, but whether he will ultimately be removed from office remains to be seen.
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