Rock the Vote

A Phoenix man may serve five years in prison for — get this — voting

The Sentencing Project, a Washington D.C. advocacy and reform group, reports that about 176,000 people currently are disenfranchised in Arizona because of their status as ex-felons.

Current law in Arizona makes it very difficult for many convicted felons ever to vote again.

If a person has been convicted of a single felony, the right to vote is automatically restored once the sentence is complete. That includes paying any fines or restitution, and completing probation.

But if that person has been convicted of two or more felonies (even in the same underlying case), he or she must petition the presiding judge in whatever county the crimes occurred. If the person did any prison time, he or she can't even apply for restoration of voting rights until two years after completing everything to do with that sentence.

And then, there's no guarantee a judge will grant the petition.

Arizona is more conservative than even Texas. In 1997, Texas' then-governor George W. Bush signed a bill eliminating that state's two-year waiting period before felons could regain the right to vote.

All of that is of little consequence or solace to Dale Schwartz, who says he is suffering from deep depression over his current plight.

Last month, he spent a few days in the county jail after he failed to appear for a pretrial hearing at Superior Court.

"I just can't believe this," Schwartz says. "There is no personal gain to voting. No one bought my vote or told me to vote. I just wanted to vote because I couldn't take Bush anymore. While I was in jail, one of the COs [correctional officers] called me aside and said to me, 'What the hell is this all about, illegal voting?'"

Schwartz manages a little joke about the whole unfortunate affair.

"Maybe they'll throw away the key on me," he says. "After all, God forbid, I might try to vote again someday."

Then he gets serious.

"Not in this lifetime."

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9 comments
jazzbo13
jazzbo13

I think this paragraph from the story is very telling;

'Last month, he spent a few days in the county jail after he failed to appear for a pretrial hearing at Superior Court.'

Did this jerkoff misplace his PDA or was it a willful disregard for the system? It was most likely the latter since he served a few days in stir. He seems like the kind of asshole who likes to pick and choose what rules suit him.

Is the rule against felons voting too restrictive? Probably. Is the penalty too harsh? Definitely. Am I going to loose sleep while this guy gets ass-raped for the next 5 years? Not a wink. Not all rules are fair or make sense. Don�t like �em? Cause change. Until then, follow them!

caryn
caryn

The county attorneys, prosecutors, and AG's offices all know what they are doing. Wasting our tax dollars for political gain- sex offenders get hired to teach while the PHX PD railroaded a real teacher, due to his color, into an indictment and then the defense attorney collected a whopping $25k for a one hour and two minute defense. Why? Bc the little gun toting, meth using fugitive who hit him in a car and fucked up his life is the son of a cop. So they let the fugitive go, falsified records, and Scott Wolfram allowed "Daddy's" uncertified friend to lead a jury panel (after a half-assed investigation and tampering with evidence) into believing a crime had been committed by the teacher.

Meanwhile, fugitive drives on the streets of Phoenix, teacher is in jail now awaiting sentencing, and two cops lost their jobs over this but nothing has been done to make it right by the teacher who was framed.

All the inner-city teacher did was drive one night, designated driver at that. In court, jurors answered cell calls, winked at cops, and engaged themselves un other felonious behaviors unsanctioned by the court.

Um, yeah, the county attorney's office IS serious- a judge in Maricopa Superior court told me that anyone in that county/city could indict a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Mr Felony Voter should have taken the plea- these bastards are crooks and are really screwing taxpayers by misusing our funds.

Buckle up! It could be you next who gets hit by that little fugitive while he is high on meth.

lynne
lynne

What a farce.... can't our procecutors work on more important matters, like murders?Get real!

Dennis
Dennis

What a joke!! I have heard it all now... the LIEBERAL whackos at city hall must have nothing better to do than waste time on one guy who simply made a mistake... granted this dude isn't any Mensa member (Duh!).. but COME ON Mr. Thomas... can't you see the LUNACY in this one?? How much taxpayer money are you going to BLOW before you get laughed out of town. Yes the guy was an idiot but that DOES NOT make him a criminal. I get so sick of the draconian law enforcement in this county... the average taxpayer gets BEAT TO DEATH while the criminals, illegals, druggies, prostitutes, and other riff raff run the streets .... what a place to live. Schwartz' only crime here was getting caught ripping off the State gov't! Hell the State of AZ has been raping and ripping us taxpayers off forever why can't we put THEM on probation??? DR

Howey
Howey

I don't understand why this affair is "unfortunate". It seems to me that Mr. Schwartz decided that he had the right to steal money from the government, and thereby from his fellow citizens. He ignored his status when it was convenient for him, by voting, but when an inconvenient situation arose, he remembered his ineligibility for jury duty very clearly. When leniency WAS offered, his lawyer implied that pretending to be innocent is the "right thing to do". He was, and still is, attempting to abuse the system for his own advantage. He deserves to spend every day of that five year sentence in prison.

MARK  WM. COSTELLO
MARK WM. COSTELLO

PAUL- JUST THOUGHT I WOULD DROP AN E-MAIL TO TELL YOU WE THOUGHT AS A FAMILY WE APPRECIATED THE WAY YOU PRESENTED THE STORY ON DOMINNICK DUNNS PROGRAM JUST RECENTLY.EVERY THING THAT WAS STATED IN IT WAS REALLY CLOSE TO WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED DURING THAT TIME. WE REALLY DON,T LIKE HAVING TO SEE IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN SINCE IT WAS NOT REALLY A GOOD TIME IN OUR FAMILY'S LIVES. I NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO TELL YOU THANK YOU FOR THE COURTESY YOU SHOWED ME AND RESPECTING OUR PRIVACY DURING THIS TRIAL.I DON,TKNOW IF YOU HAVE SEEN OR HEARD OF THE ARTICLE IN THIS MONTH,S PHOENIX MAG. BUT I CANSURE TELL YOU IT SURE WAS A BUNCH OF TRASH. DID JANNA OR WHAT EVER EVER FOLLOW THIS TRIAL TO HEAR THE FACTS OF ALL THE TESTIMONY. AFTER ALL BOTH JURY,S FOUND HIM GUILTY.IT LOOKS LIKE HIS SISTER WON,T GIVE UP STIRRING UP THE POT. THER WERE A NUMBER OF THINGSTHAT WERE NEVER BROUGHT OUT IN THE TRIAL AGAINST HIM. ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU IS THIS REALLY SHOOK& HURT THIS FAMILY BAD BEING YOU WOULD NEVER THINK SOMEONE COULD ENTER INTOMY OR YOUR FAMILY AND AND COMMIT SUCH A HORRIBLE ACT OF MURDER. THIS FAMILY HAS NEVEREVER HAD A RECORD OR BEEN ARRESTED FOR ANY THING IN OUR LIVES.SO AS WE MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES WE TRY NOT TO LOOK BACK. ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR WRITING &FUTURE ENDEAVORS.YOURS RESPECTFULLYMARK WM. COSTELLO & FAMILY

Jason
Jason

So, let me understand this. We have a multiple felon who committed another felony, and we're supposed to feel bad for him? I'm "just a kid" and even I knew that you can't vote or own firearms if you are a felon. He knew what he was doing was wrong and now he's going to pay for it.

Doug
Doug

Is the County Attorney's Office serious??? While I don't admire anyone who cheats the system how can we as a society threaten a man with 5 years in prison for voting when we give less time to adults who rape and/or molest children? How about drunk drivers who kill people with there stupidity and get an average of 2 years if that??? Why not give this guy 50 years to life, since we are going ridiculous we might as well go all the way!

Ted Rock
Ted Rock

This guy's a liar. Sure, a five-year prison sentence is a bit harsh, but please -- he lies about his status to be able to vote, but uses his status to his advantage to get out of jury duty??

He knew EXACTLY what he was doing. The investigator was right, you can't have it both ways. We have laws for a reason. Don't like 'em? VOTE TO CHANGE 'EM (if your allowed to :)

I don't feel sorry for this clown one bit.

 
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