Attorney general’s office asked for opinion in Alston case -- Gazette.Net


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Gov. Martin O’Malley has asked the attorney general’s office to issue a formal opinion on whether Tiffany Alston has been removed from her seat in the House of Delegates.

Alston (D-Dist. 24) of Mitchellville was sentenced in October for misusing General Assembly funds, and the legislature’s lawyer has said she was permanently removed from office at that time by act of law.

But after Alston completed her community service requirement and paid restitution to the legislature, Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Paul Harris converted her sentence to probation before judgment — effectively striking her conviction from the record.

Alston and her lawyers say there’s now no basis for her removal and are prepared to sue the state to have her reinstated.

“I have confidence in the advice provided, [but] I have agreed to request a formal opinion because of the importance of the issue and the likelihood of litigation in this matter,” O’Malley (D) wrote in a letter, dated Friday, to the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee.

In his letter, O’Malley also asked the committee to withdraw its choice to replace Alston, Greg Hall, and take no action until the opinion, which he asked to be expedited, is issued.

Alston declined to comment Monday.

Earlier this month, the central committee voted 12-10 in favor of Hall, a former aide to County Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2) of Hyattsville. The runner-up, Terry Speigner, is chairman of the central committee.

Hall’s nomination has been controversial due to his criminal record as a younger man. He faced drug and handgun possession charges between 1991 and 1995, and was temporarily implicated in a 1992 shoot-out that left a 13-year-old boy dead.

Speigner said Thursday that the committee had to give additional scrutiny to nominees, including the likely replacement for retired Del. Justin Ross (D-Dist. 22) of Hyattsville, in light of Hall’s record, which was a source of concern for some committee members.

The committee is expected to discuss the governor’s request at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday in Suitland, Speigner said.

dleaderman@gazette.net