Actual court transcript in which the defendant did not need to go to the state penitentiary because of the substance abuse treatment program.
White Papa by Angelo A. Papa BS MA JD
SHISAN Professional Network
WHITE PAPER 110313
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“Come now, let reason together” Isaiah 1:18
NEW CASTLE — A losing candidate in this year’s New Castle City Council contest won’t appeal a judge’s decision against overturning election results.
John Altman, the sole Republican in the race, had challenged the election results, which gave Democrat Gary Mitchell the third and final council seat on the ballot.
Altman had asked the Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to block the certification of Mitchell’s victory, and instead award the seat to him.
Altman cited Mitchell’s felony convictions on drug charges, arguing Mitchell never should have been on the ballot and state law prohibits him from holding an elected position.
But on Nov. 21, Judge John Hodge ruled against Altman, declaring he lacked standing in the case. Hodge said the Lawrence County district attorney and the Pennsylvania attorney general are the authorities assigned the task of blocking Mitchell from taking the council seat, and citizens cannot act in the matter until these officials refuse to do so. Altman was unable to document that the two offices had passed on taking action in Mitchell’s case.
In a letter to the New Castle News, Altman’s attorney, Angelo A. Papa, said his client would not appeal Hodge’s ruling or pursue the case further.
Instead, Papa wrote, “Mr. Altman must respectfully leave this issue for the applicable authorities to work out.”
However, Papa added that while the legal efforts on Altman’s behalf were unsuccessful, they served a purpose in terms of pointing out flaws in the state election code, where individuals with felony records can run — and win — public office, but then may be blocked from serving.
Mitchell has told The News he is pursuing various options in an effort to have his criminal record expunged. But if that does not happen, and he is prevented from taking his seat, the remaining members of council will have the responsibility of selecting someone to take his place.
In his letter, Papa cited this situation, arguing Mitchell’s presence on the ballot effectively prevented Altman from winning the race and giving council, rather than the voters, the power to pick who would serve.
“We find no fault with anyone, including Mr. Mitchell, who we believe may not appreciate the depth of the problem he has caused,” Papa added.
No official action has taken place to stop Mitchell from taking office.
The issue of how to properly address drug and alcohol addiction within the United States has been associated with a long and endless debate. There is a strong pull towards incarceration as a means of controlling both drug use and associated crimes. However, the benefits of this have been minimal while the costs have been exponential, and estimated $9.420 billion annually*.
The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Barry R. McCaffrey, stated: “It is clear that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem of chronic drug abuse and drug-driven crime. We cannot continue to apply policies and programs that do not deal with the root causes of substance abuse and attendant crime. Nor should we expect to continue to have the widespread societal support for our counter-drug programs if the American people begin to believe these programs are unfair.”
It is this problem that has led to the development of the SH-ISAN program. As firmly as we believe that not every addict or alcoholic should be in jail, we do believe that there are those that genuinely desire to continue use/abuse and the lifestyle that is associated with it. The Comprehensive Substance Abuse Risk Assessment through the SH-ISAN network was developed to asses each individual for the capacity for effective treatment and rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration.
Learn More about:
Signature Hill’s Independant Substance Abuse Network
Take a stand against substance abuse: