As promised/threatened, convicted ex-city Councilor Chuck Turner has filed a federal lawsuit demanding he be allowed back into the City Council chambers.
In his suit, co-filed with several constituents yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Turner charges the council violated his and their Constitutional rights against punishments enacted after the fact - in Turner's case, a council rule allowing for ousters that was passed after his indictment - and that the move leaves all of District 7 without an elected representative. Somewhat ironically for a man who once proposed gutting the First Amendment, Turner also charges the council violated his First Amendment rights.
Turner also alleges his ouster violates state law, because that only calls for an official's ouster if he's been sent to prison. Turner is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 25.
If Judge Mark Wolf agrees with Turner, he would not only get his $85,000-a-year job back, the city would have to call off the Feb. 15 and March 15 elections to replace him. However, if Judge Douglas Woodlock, who presided over Turner's criminal trial, sends him off to a federal penitentiary, that state law would take effect.
The council voted 11-to-Yancey on Dec. 1 to eject Turner following his conviction in federal court on one count of extortion and three of perjury.