The State Supreme Court is considering arguments in a case involving the right of a person convicted of a crime to run for public office. Jackson County Legislator Henry Rizzo would be barred from running for reelection under a law that went into effect in 2005. It bans anyone convicted of a federal felony or misdemeanor from running for elective office in Missouri. Henry Rizzo pleaded guilty, in 1991, to a charge of providing a false statement to a financial institution – a misdemeanor under federal law. Assistant Attorney General Paul Wilson told the judges no one has a fundamental right to run for public office. Attorney Jim Wyrsch, representing Rizzo, says his client and others want to be able to vote for someone who has a federal misdemeanor that is not a serious offense. A lower court struck down the ban as a violation of the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. The law was then appealed to the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected prior to the August 8th primary election in which Rizzo is running.
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