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Judge throws out convict candidate ban

By AP/KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon says he'll appeal Monday's decision that throws out a state law that makes people convicted of federal crimes unable to run for office.

The judge said the law is unconstitutional because there's no rational basis for limiting public office based on federal convictions but not state ones.

The ruling came in a case brought by Henry Rizzo, who is seeking re-election to Jackson County's governing body. Rizzo, a former state lawmaker, won a term on the Jackson County Legislature after serving a sentence in the 1990s for providing a false statement to a financial institution, a federal misdemeanor. Rizzo, a Democrat, wants to seek re-election, but the law would prevent that.

Nixon says a quick ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court is critical because candidates have to file to run by March 28th.

Judge Richard Callahan says the law violates the U.S. and state constitutions' equal protection clauses.

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