Counsel: Alston is removed from state office

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland General Assembly’s counsel says Del. Tiffany Alston’s conviction for paying a law firm employee with state money permanently removes her from her term.

Dan Friedman issued an opinion to House Speaker Michael Busch on Thursday.

A jury found Alston, D-Prince George’s, guilty of misdemeanor theft in June for paying a law firm employee $800 in state money. She received a suspended sentence last month. Alston’s attorneys contended her conviction could later be changed to probation if she fulfills requirements.

But Friedman says Alston’s conviction became final when she forfeited her appellate rights in a plea deal to settle charges of using campaign money to pay wedding expenses.

Friedman noted Alston could run for election in 2014, because misdemeanor misconduct in office does not disqualify her as a voter.

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