Josh Johnston, a former Republican state legislator from Rose Bud, has filed an emergency petition with the Arkansas Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a circuit court order that ruled him ineligible to run for Cleburne County sheriff because of a 1995 misdemeanor hot check conviction. Johnston also asks for a stay of counting the votes to preserve his consideration as candidate.
Nobody challenged Johnston’s eligibility when he ran for legislature, but he was challenged in making a race for sheriff this year by opponent Brian Haile. He has told me he didn’t believe his hot check conviction — a youthful mistake, he said — was an “infamous crime” of the sort the Constitution sets as a disqualifier.
It throws a lot of legal theories at the Supreme Court, including the idea that, while the Constitution may prohibit someone convicted of certain crimes from serving, it doesn’t necessarily prevent them for running.
Johnson is on the ballot. If he loses his court case, his votes won’t count.