Criminal Record Blocks Candidacy For Sheriff, But Not House

The Albany Herald takes a look at a House Race in SW Georgia…and finds an interesting series of events as to how Democrats picked an independent to challenge the Republican with the longest record of service to the House of Representatives.  The original Democratic challenger, James “I’m not Griftdrift” Williams, lost a post-qualifying challenge based on residency.  Meanwhile, former Arlington City Council member and pastor Kenneth Zachary Jr was removed from the Democratic ballot in a race against the sheriff of Calhoun County on the grounds of “moral turpitude”.

State law prohibits anyone with convictions on crimes of moral turpitude from serving as Sheriff. Per the Herald:

But court documents obtained by The Herald show that Zachary, at age 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in 2004. He was indicted by a Dougherty County Grand Jury in May 2004 on a charge of terroristic threats in connection to an incident in which he was accused of throwing eggs at a car, acting “in disregard of the risk of causing such terror and inconvenience” in the incident that involved a woman and two small children, ages 4 and 6. The charge was reduced to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

The Herald also obtained documents showing that Zachary, when he was in his 20s, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of writing bad checks and pleaded no-contest to theft by conversion ($644.85 in used clothing and equipment taken from the Georgia National Guard).

State law prohibits those with felony convictions from serving in the legislature for ten years. 2004 is 12 years ago, so legally Zachary is ok to serve. He petitioned to get on the ballot with the required number of signatures, and is running as an independent with support from the State Democratic party.

“Voters deserve a choice at the ballot box, and I plan on winning their support with a platform of strong Democratic values.” Zachary is quoted as saying in the article.
“Rev. Kenneth Zachary made a mistake in his 20s and later served his country and state as an Army vet, city councilman, law enforcement officer and pastor,” Georgia Democratic Party Communications Director Michael Smith said in an email to The Albany Herald. “I’d say that’s quite an impressive record of public service.”

So we have someone who clearly has a public record, now looking for public service. We have an agenda of Criminal Justice Reform that has been initiated by the Governor and accepted by most of the Republicans in the legislature of allowing those who have served their time to rehabilitate and re-assimilate back into normal lives.

We’ll now see how well the voters of SW Georgia decide if this also applies to those running for political office, or if the race is run on traditional partisan/issue based results. If so, it’s a competitive district but likely still favors Greene as the incumbent.

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xdogMattMD_actualSaltycrackerMike HassingerDavo65 Recent comment authors
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Republicans obviously don’t have the same issues regarding matters of moral turpitude; he was re-elected, after-all.

Mike Hassinger
Mike Hassinger

Yeah, that’s kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Taylor’s contest was in a primary -not a general- and his opponent had some rather public “issues” of his own.

Can’t quite see how throwing eggs at a car rises to the level of any sort of “turpitude,” moral or otherwise, though.


Throwing eggs at cars at age 34 may not be moral turpitude but it sure is something. Besides drunk, I mean.


DUI really isn’t considered a crime of moral turpitude. It certainly is reckless and irresponsible (especially with teenagers in the car).


Last I read a state legislator didn’t even have to have their taxes paid up, to run or serve, a promise to pay will suffice.

Stepping down from a state committee , particularly involving an industry they oversee, until litigation against them in same is resolved ? nah.

Multiple convictions – makes a legislative trifecta.