LD 573 | Resolution (Debate) | Prison

Hon. Stan Moody 1434 Ohio St., Unit 44 Bangor, ME 04401 207/607-3055 stanmoody1@aol.

com Mar 4, 2013 Re: LD 573: Resolution, Proposing Amendment to the Constitution to Restrict the Voting Privileges of Persons Incarcerated for Murder or Class A Crimes This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Maine that revokes the right of a person in a correctional facility of the State to vote if that person was convicted of a crime punishable by more than 10 years of imprisonment, which currently includes murder and Class A crimes. Chairman Tuttle; Chairman Luchini; distinguished members of the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs: I submit testimony today in opposition to this Resolution.

The Maine State Legislature, in its wisdom, recently joined with the State of Vermont in instituting seamless voting rights for its citizens convicted of a crime of any nature. This Resolution now seeks to withdraw those rights from certain segments of that population.

That the legislature has the power to restore certain rights to any group at large is without question. That the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee was the proper jurisdiction for debate and presentation of universal voting rights also is without question. To then withdraw those rights only from certain segments within any designated group, however, raises questions not only of jurisdiction but of the separation of powers.

I make the following recommendations:

1. That this Resolution be heard in joint session with the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety to resolve whether or not the withdrawal of certain rights from persons convicted of specified crimes and residing within the community of incarcerated citizens constitutes an imposition of additional sentence without due process, thereby infringing on the powers of the judiciary. 2. That this Resolution be reported to the Legislature as OUGHT-NOT-TO-PASS on the grounds that it separates a class of incarcerated citizens on the basis not of security risk but of the nature of their crimes. 3. That this Resolution be reported to the Legislature as OUGHT-NOT-TO-PASS on the grounds that in an era of shifting sentencing laws, it is probable that there will be persons serving 10 or more years not convicted of murder or a Class A crime who retain their voting rights and thereby cause a security risk within our prisons. 4. That this Resolution be reported to the Legislature as OUGHT-NOT-TO-PASS on the grounds that it preserves voting rights to groups within the prison system that are considered to be of inferior standing by virtue of their crimes, thereby encouraging an atmosphere of elitism among our incarcerated citizens and creating possible security risks. 5. That this Resolution be reported to the Legislature as OUGHT-NOT-TO-PASS on the grounds that it fails the test of improving the public safety. I thank you for your time an attention...

Stan Moody

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