N.J. lawmaker wants indicted officials suspended until they’re cleared — or convicted

A New Jersey lawmaker wants voters to decide whether elected officials accused of a crime should be removed from office immediately.



Current New Jersey law doesn’t allow elected officials to be ousted until they’re convicted.

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Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, is proposing a constitutional amendment that would suspend indicted officials without pay and temporarily replace them until they’re convicted or exonerated.

“Otherwise, a bogged-down, stagnant, and also demoralizing effect occurs if elected officials are in office and they’re distracted by trying to work on their defense,” she said.

Turner says she’s not sure whether the Legislature will approve the amendment. Even if it does, the proposal would not be on the ballot until November of next year.

Several New Jersey elected officials have been indicted recently, including Tony Mack, the mayor of Trenton, and neighboring Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo. Both men face federal charges of corruption.

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