COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Kootenai County sheriff hopeful Adam Johnson is speaking out now after Prosecutor Barry McHugh said he was ineligible to run for office.
Johnson, 27, plans on filing as a candidate for sheriff. In the last few years he's had several run-ins with the law. In 2009 he shot and wounded two people in Coeur d'Alene. Those charges were later dropped. Then in this last January he pled guilty to possessing heroin and is currently on probation.
As for what McHugh said about him not being able to run? Johnson says it's his opinion and he intends to try and file as a candidate for Kootenai County sheriff.
"I think there's a lot of good I can do here," Johnson said. "There are a lot of voices in the community that are not being heard."
It's something he's so passionate about he's willing to try and file as a candidate even though the county prosecutor says he's ineligible.
"What I found was because he's still on probation his right to hold office has not been restored," McHugh said.
In January Johnson pled guilty to possessing heroin and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation. In a memo sent to the Kootenai County Clerk McHugh said his opinion is Johnson can't run until his rights are restored.
"I think it's a little bit of a legal gray area," Johnson said.
Johnson is facing a withheld judgment which means if he completes probation successfully the case can be dismissed. Johnson wants clarification on what that type of judgment means for his rights to run for office.
"If it was a statue that said in black and white Idaho code then that would be it," he said.
According to the Attorney General's legal guidelines, someone who pled guilty to a felony, received a withheld judgment and is on probation loses the right to vote and hold civil office.
As for running for sheriff this year, McHugh said the only way Johnson can run is if his probation is terminated early. Right now, he has two years left.
Johnson is seeking legal counsel and said he's not willing to give up so easily.
"I feel so passionately about this. It's something I want to do; I think it needs to be clarified," he said.
When contacted Friday, the elections office said that unless told differently, they will be going by what the prosecutor said; if Johnson comes into file they will tell him that right now he's ineligible.
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