Former Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold’s convictions on two counts of misconduct -- for using police to perform political functions and for requiring county workers to empty his catheter bag – were upheld by a court Thursday.
But the ruling noted that Leopold hadn’t been convicted of a felony, so the court struck down a part of his sentence that prevented him from running for office while on probation.
In an opinion issued Wednesday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals said that it's up to the Maryland Board of Elections to determine who is eligible to run for public office, reports The Baltimore Sun.
"Leopold has not been convicted of a felony or of buying or selling votes, nor is he under guardianship for mental disability, thus qualifying him to be a registered voter" and therefore eligible to run for office, Judge Alexander Wright Jr. wrote in the court's opinion.
The filing deadline to run in the 2014 primary election passed Feb. 25. Leopold has two options: To file as a write-in candidate or seek the approval of the Anne Arundel Republican central committee to go on the general election ballot to replace a primary winner who has dropped out of the race, reports CapitalGazette.com.
Leopold told The Capital he would not consider running as a write-in candidate because it would not garner enough votes.
The names of write-in candidates do not appear on the ballot, requiring the candidate to launch a campaign to make voters aware he is running.
“That’s a very difficult process,” Leopold said. “It would require a very expensive education campaign.”
Attorneys for Leopold argued previously in court that while his actions were “boorish,” they weren’t criminal. The Republican politician was sentenced to 30 days in jail, community service, five years of probation and a $100,000 fine.
Prosecutors and witnesses said during the trial that Leopold ordered his taxpayer-funded police protection detail to collect contributions from donors and compile dossiers on adversaries during his 2010 re-election campaign. The Sun says that at trial allegations were raised that Leopold forced employees to empty urine from the catheter bag he used after back surgery; asked police to deliver his campaign signs and remove an opponent’s signs; and ordered police to keep a lookout while he had sexual trysts in the back seat of a car.