Felony Restricts Man From Sheriff Run

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Adam Johnson wanted to run for Kootenai County Sheriff. He even attended a candidate forum last week. There's just one problem: He pled guilty to a felony for drug possession in January and can neither vote nor hold civil office.

In January, Adam Johnson wrote on his Facebook page he intended to run for Kootenai County Sheriff. Johnson is the same man who shot and injured two men in 2010 in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Charges in that incident were later dropped.

Johnson said he looked forward to the challenge that this campaign will provide and participated in a sheriff's candidate forum with four other people just last week.

But on Thursday Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh put an end to his campaign.

The reason is that Johnson can't even file for candidacy because he's on felony probation for drug charges.

"What I found was because he's still on probation his right to hold office has not been restored," McHugh said.

In January, Johnson was sentenced to two years of supervised probation after he pled guilty to possessing heroin. It has a withheld judgment, so if Johnson successfully completes his probation the case could be dismissed.

In the mean time, Idaho code doesn't address felony convictions when talking about who can run for sheriff. McHugh said that Johnson, who pled guilty to a felony and is on probation, lost his right to vote, serve as a juror or hold civil office.

McHugh broke the news to Johnson Thursday morning.

"He looked at it. I know he was disappointed. Beyond that I think he was still digesting and trying to get a sense for the reasoning," McHugh said.

The only way Johnson could file is if he gets his probation shortened. Once he finishes probation, his rights to run for office and vote are restored.

The deadline to file for candidacy is March 9, but Johnson's probation isn't scheduled to end until 2014.

KXLY spoke with Johnson Thursday night and he said the stance is just the prosecutor's opinion and he still plans to run for sheriff.