Chuck Turner: Put me back on City Council
By Dave Wedge | Friday, December 31, 2010 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Politics
Photo by Herald file
Embattled ex-City Councilor Chuck Turner, who is awaiting sentencing on a federal bribery rap, says he was wrongly booted from the council and wants a judge to reinstate him.
“We want him to serve out the balance of his term,” Turner’s attorney, Chester Darling, told the Herald last night. “They had no authority to (remove him).”
Darling has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court seeking a temporary restraining order of the council’s order removing Turner from office. The motion also seeks to halt a planned February election to fill the vacancy left by Turner’s removal. If granted by a federal judge, Turner would be returned to office.
The complaint alleges the council did not have authority to boot Turner and alleges his colleagues relied on a flawed reading of city law.
Darling said the city has no rules in its official charter that allow for the board to bounce a member for a felony conviction. He argued the council should have filed a home-rule petition and received approval from the state Legislature before ousting Turner.
“It was a disgrace what happened up there,” said Darling, an 81-year-old former city attorney who came out of retirement to represent Turner.
Turner is slated to be sentenced later this month for taking a $1,000 bribe as part of a federal sting targeting corrupt politicians. Once he’s sent to prison, he will automatically lose his seat as state law permits the removal of elected officials sent to jail for a felony.
Turner, who was elected to the council in 1999, was re-elected in 2009 to a two-year term slated to expire Dec. 31, 2011. The council voted 11 to 1 on Dec. 1 to remove Turner from office with only Councilor Charles Yancey opposing.
The court filing also seeks declaratory judgment for Turner for his alleged wrongful removal. The documents list a dozen of Turner’s constituents as plaintiffs who are also seeking declaratory judgment for alleged violations of their rights.
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