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156823 - Fred Paquin v City of St. Ignace

Fred Paquin,

 

Joseph Kwiatkowski

 

Plaintiff-Appellant,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Mackinac – Carmody, W.)

 

City of St. Ignace

 

Charles Palmer

 

Defendant-Appellee,

 

and

 

 

Attorney General,

 

Heather Meingast

 

Intervening Appellee.

 

Summary

A state constitutional provision makes a person ineligible to run for public office if he or she was previously convicted of a felony involving fraud while “holding any elective office or position of employment in local, state, or federal government.” Const 1963, art 11, § 8. Plaintiff was convicted in federal court of conspiring to defraud the federal government, arising out of the misuse of grant funds while he served as the chief of police and chairperson of the board of directors of a federally recognized Indian tribe. Plaintiff later tried to run for defendant’s city council, but the city manager denied his request to be placed on the ballot, stating that plaintiff was ineligible under Const 1963, art 11, § 8. Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action, seeking a ruling that the constitutional disqualification did not apply to him because his elective office or position of employment had been in a tribal government, not a “local, state, or federal government.” The trial court ruled in favor of defendant city. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that plaintiff’s service in tribal government constituted service in “local government” for purposes of § 8. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal to address whether plaintiff’s holding elective office with and being employed by an Indian tribe constitutes “any elective office or position of employment in local, state, or federal government” under Const 1963, art 11, § 8.​