NORTH CAROLINA SHERIFFS' ASSOCIATION LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND STATE OFFICIALS OF NORTH CAROLINA

President

SHERIFF SAM PAGE Rockingham County

1 SI Vice President

SHERIFF RICHARD WEBSTER Chatham County

Pnd Vice PI ~s - cent SHEHIFF TONY PERRY Camden County

Charrrnan-Execut.ve Committee SHERIFF .JAMES L KNIGHT Edgecombe County

Telephone. (919) SHERIFF (743-7433)

Fax: (919) 783-5272

Post Office Box 20049 . Raleigh, N. C. 27619-0049 Suite 300' 323 West Jones Street • Raleigh, N C. E·mail: ncsa@ncsheriffs.net • www.ncsheriffs.org

Secretary .. Trsasu re r SHERIFF BRAD RILEY C.barr~s COIJ~!}'

Executi \,Ie Vice President and Gene ~al Coun:s..e I EDMOND W. CALDWELL, JR

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

iPasl Presidents I

SHeRIFf- WAYNE V GAY Wilson County

SHERIFF W.E. Billy" SMITH Lenon County

SHERIFF EARL BUTLER Cumberland County

SHERIFF WORTH HILL Durham County

SHERIFF DANE MASTIN Wilkes County

SHERIFF STEVE BIZZELL John SIO rl Cou n ty

SHERIFF JERRY G. MONETIE Craven Co u nt'l

October 26, 2010

Position Statement

Constitutional Amendment---No Felon as Sheriff

Do you know that a convicted felon can be elected and can serve as a county sheriff, according to our State Constitution? The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association is strongly opposed to any convicted felon being a sheriff, the head law enforcement official in each county. The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association does not want something as crucial and fundamental to professional law enforcement as the public trust to be placed in the hands of a known felon, having been found to be such in a court of law.

In March of this year, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association reaffirmed its prior support for House 6ill1307, No Felon as Sheriff, a legislative bill that was pending in the North Carolina General Assembly that was eligible for consideration in the legislative session that convened on May 12th. The Association first supported this legislation in early 2009, but the legislation was not enacted into law. Last year's decision by the Association to support House Bill 1307 was reaffirmed in a unanimous vote by those sheriffs in attendance at the Association's annual Spring Meeting in March, 2010.

As enacted into law by the General Assembly, House 6ill1307 will place on the ballot in November, 2010 a constitutional amendment to be voted upon by the people of North Carolina that would prohibit a convicted felon from serving as sheriff in our state. Under current law, a convicted felon who has fully completed the sentence imposed by the court automatically has their "rights restored" by operation of law, and is then eligible to vote and to hold public office in North Carolina, including among others, the Office of Sheriff.

Sheriff James Knight of Edgecombe County, chairman of the Association's Executive Committee said: "The sheriffs of North Carolina vigorously support this constitutional amendment and adamantly believe that a convicted felon should not be allowed to run for or be elected or appointed as sheriff in our great state. The standards for our deputy sheriffs established by the sheriffs and other members of the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission prohibit a convicted felon from being certified as a deputy sheriff. This constitutional amendment will apply this same standard to the men and women who serve in the constitutional Office of Sheriff."

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The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association is a Non-profit. Tax Exempt organization recognized by the I.R.S.

OUf tax identification is 56-1079943

"It is the position of the sheriffs of North Carolina that a convicted felon should be barred from holding any elective office in our state, but the Association is continuing to focus its efforts on getting this restriction applied to the Office of Sheriff," said Sheriff Jerry Monette of Craven County, a past president of the Association. Sheriff Monette continued: "During the 2010 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, we worked closely with our friends in the legislature on both sides of the aisle to get this important legislation enacted so the voters can help us get this constitutional amendment adopted on Election Day this November."

The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association is the professional organization of our state's sheriffs and includes as members all of the 100 sheriffs in North Carolina. In the discussion of this issue by the sheriffs, they noted that it is regrettable that convicted felons filed to run for election to the Office of Sheriff th is yea r, but the sheriffs were gratefu I that the pub li c en su red tha t the co nvicted fe Ion s we re a II defeated in the May primary elections.

Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, president of the Association, noted: "We respect and fully support the constitutional right of the citizens of each of North Carolina's 100 counties to make the decision at the ballot box about who will serve their county as sheriff. However, we are united in our belief that the North Carolina Constitution should be amended to prohibit a convicted felon from serving as an elected or appointed sheriff. As North Carolina's sheriffs, we want our fellow citizens to know that many hardships will result if a convicted felon is allowed to serve as the chief law enforcement officer in the county responsible for protecting and serving you and other citizens in your county."

Federal law prohibits a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. Integrity, professionalism and the confidence of the public in our criminal justice system require that convicted felons not be eligible to serve as sheriff.

Today - across our state and throughout the nation - sheriffs continue to exercise vitally important responsibilities. In the State of North Carolina, sheriffs are constitutional officers elected by the people of their counties. On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the responsibilities of their Office include:

• Patrolling the counties and enforcing the law.

e Maintaining and operating jails.

• Serving civil process papers, essential to all legal actions.

• Providing security for North Carolina's courtrooms.

• Serving as the public's elected representative for law enforcement and public safety matters.

• Maintaining custody of evidence, including firearms, in criminal court cases.

The Office of Sheriff is the oldest and most respected elected office in America, having been brought to this country by the colonists from England. The founding fathers of our nation made it an elected office because they were determined that the sheriff would be directly responsible and accountable to the people. North Carolina's sheriffs take pride in their office and they take seriously their duties and responsibilities to the people of North Carolina.

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From its state headquarters in Raleigh, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association has been proudly serving the sheriffs and citizens of North Carolina since 1922.

For more information, contact:

Eddie Caldwell

Executive Vice President and General Counsel North Carolina Sheriffs' Association

919 -459-105 2

eca I dwe II @ ncsh e riffs. n et

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North Carolina Elections News

North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State

PRESS RELEASE

September 2, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact Li z Proctor (91 9) 807-2154

Elaine F. Marshall Secretary of State

Constitutional Amendment on November Ballot

Raleigh - When North Carolina voters go to the polls on November 2, they will find more than candidates' names on their ballots. They also will be voting on a constitutional amendment that could affect the names on future ballots.

The 2010 General Assembly approved a measure (Session Law 201 OA9) that would ban convicted felons from serving as sheriffs in North Carolina.

The proposed amendment to Article VII, Section 2 of the North Carolina Constitution would add language stating that individuals convicted of a felony in North Carolina or any other state would be ineligible to serve as a sheriff in North Carolina whether or not his or her rights of citizenship have been restored.

The General Assembly also approved the language that voters will see on the ballot this fall as tbey consider this constitutional amendment:

[ I FOR II AGAINST

Constitutional amendment providing that no person convicted of a felony may serve as Sheriff.

The Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, chaired by Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall, has approved language for an official explanation of the proposed amendment that can be provided to voters to assist them in understanding the amendment.

Secretary Marshall urges voters to take time to consider the amendment.

'The Constitution of North Carolina belongs to the people of North Carolina. As with every proposed constitutional amendment, the voters have an important opportunity here 10 carefully consider this proposed change and cast their ballots according to the facts and to their personal beliefs."

Here is the official explanation adopted by the Commission:

The North Carolina Constitution says that voters must elect a county Sheriff. It does not say who is eligible to serve as county Sheriff.

The proposed Amendment to the Constitution says who is not eligible to serve as a county Sheriff. The Amendment says that convicted felons are not eligible to serve as county Sheriff.

A convicted felon is someone who has been found guilty or who has pled guilty to a serious crime called a felony. A felony is a crime that may lead to imprisonment. A person convicted of a felony may lose certain rights. For example, a person who is convicted of a felony may lose the right to vote, the right to carry a firearm, and other privileges.

If the majority of voters vote"FOR'~ for tbe Amendment, a convicted felon will not be eligible to be a County Sheriff in North Carolina.

If the majority of voters vote "AGAINST" the Amendment, a convicted felon will be eligible to be a County Sheriff in North Carolina.

This explanation was provided to each North Carolina county board of elections, For copies, people may contact their county board of elections, the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office, or visit the Secretary of State's Office online at www.sosnc.corn.

-30-

www.sosnc.com

P.o. Box 29622. Raleigh. NC 27626-0622

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2009

SESSION LAW 2010-49 HOUSE BILL 1307

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION OF NORTH CAROLINA TO PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON CONVICTED OF A FELONY IS ELIGIBLE TO BE ELECTED SHERIFF.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Section 2 of Article VII of the Constitution of North Carolina reads as rewritten:

"Sec. 2. Sheriffs,

In each county a Sheriff shall be elected by the qualified voters thereof at the same time and places as members of the General Assembly are elected and shall hold his office for a period of four years, subject to removal for cause as provided by law. No person is eligible to serve as Sheriff if that person has been convicted of a felony against this State, the United States, or another state, whether or not that person has been restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law. Convicted of a felony includes the entry of a plea of guilty; a verdict or finding of guilt by a jury, judge, magistrate, or other adjudicating body, tribunal, or official, either civilian or military; or a plea of no contest, nolo contendere, or the equivalent."

SECTION 2. The amendment set out in this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the statewide general election on November 2, 2010, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

"[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment providing that no person convicted of a felony may serve as Sheriff."

SECTION 3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the constitutional amendment set out in this act, the State Board of Elections shan certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The constitutional amendment is effective upon certification. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendments so certified among the permanent records of that office,

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 1 51 day of July, 2010.

sl Walter H. Dalton President of the Senate

sl Joe Hackney

Speaker of the House of Representatives

IIIII~I

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