AP NEWS

Cook County to file suit against ex-con’s library board seat

April 11, 2019

PARK FOREST, Ill. (AP) — County and local officials are taking steps to stop a felon from taking his seat on a suburban Chicago library board after voters elected him to the position earlier this month.

Marcus Hampton , 38, ran unchallenged in the race for a six-year term on the Park Forest Library Board.

Felons can run for public office but are barred from holding a seat, according to Illinois law.

“It is the board’s position that Mr. Hampton is not eligible to take the oath of office and serve as a board trustee,” the board said in a statement. “In the event said offices fail to take action, the board will refuse to swear Mr. Hampton in as trustee.”

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it is acting on a request from the library board to file a lawsuit to prevent Hampton from taking office, the Daily Southtown reported.

The attorney general’s office did not reply to a request for comment.

Hampton has an extended record of felonies, including a 2010 conviction for killing a pedestrian with his car. He was last released from prison in 2016.

The newspaper reported that Hampton didn’t respond to a phone message seeking comment and later Wednesday a recorded message said the cellular numbers was out of service. No one answered the door at his home Wednesday afternoon.

James Cranston, the 51-year-old nephew of Michael Cranston, the pedestrian killed, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that his family was stunned to learn about Hampton’s pursuit of public office.

“This has brought back up hurt and heartbreak. Our family is really upset. My dad was crying his eyes out,” Cranston said. “The people of Park Forest don’t need a person (in public office) who has no regard for human life.”

Cranston said the Illinois law should be changed to stop felons from running for office.

“I don’t understand how it got this far,” Cranston said. “Obviously there’s something in the law that needs to change. (Hampton) shouldn’t have been on the ballot.”

Hampton did not respond Wednesday to a phone message seeking comment. A recorded message later said the cellular number was out of service.

It is not clear what the next steps would be if Hampton is prohibited from taking the oath of office. The library board is slated to meet on April 18.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com