Oklahoma Town Short a Mayor After Arizona Clemency Board Denies Pardon for Weed Hauling and Drive-By Shooting
We're not sure which bit of news is worse for the townspeople of Pawnee, Oklahoma -- the fact that the state of Arizona effectively banned their newly elected mayor from taking office or that voters there picked a marijuana-transporting, drive-by-shooting convict as their mayor in the first place.
Call them crazy, but the state of Oklahoma has a law that makes the transition from prison to politician difficult -- 15 years need to pass after the end of a sentence for a convicted felon to serve in public office, or cons can get a pardon to become immediately eligible.
The Associated Press reports that the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency denied Christopher Linder's request for a pardon this morning, leaving Pawnee mayor-less even longer.
Linder was released from an Arizona prison in 2005, after serving five years for attempting to transport marijuana and taking part in a drive-by shooting.
In his abridged recollection of the crime given to KSAZ, Linder says, "There was a drug deal that was supposed to go, and there was counterfeit money involved... shots were fired."
Although he had made his felony conviction public to the 2,200-resident town of Pawnee, Linder still garnered 259 votes in the April mayoral election -- enough for a win in the three-way race.
But Oklahoma still doesn't take too kindly to convicts holding office, and Arizona wasn't about to deviate from its tough-on-crime demeanor.
Now, the seat of Pawnee mayor temporarily goes to its City Council president -- assuming that person doesn't have a rap sheet, too -- and a special election will be held to find someone who hasn't worn a prison jumpsuit to run the place.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.