Tiffany Alston, the former Prince George's County delegate suspended after being convicted of paying a member of her law firm with funds from the Maryland General Assembly, believes that she is still the representative for District 24.
"Just because I don't have the keys to my office doesn't mean that I'm not representing my constituents," said Alston in a brief interview yesterday evening.
At last night's meeting of the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee, Alston distributed a letter to committee members which asserted that, because her misdemeanor conviction of misconduct in office was modified to probation before judgement, she is still eligible to serve in the Maryland House of Delegates.
"The granting of the [probation before judgement] serves to strike the finding of guilt and wipe my record clear and clean," wrote Alston in the letters, which were sealed with gold-colored wax stamps. "Therefore, as of today, I have no convictions on my record. Accordingly; there is nothing that would prevent me from continuing to serve as the delegate from the 24th legislative district."
The letter goes on the to ask members of the party committee for their assistance in "remedying the situation" surrounding her former seat. Alston is seeking to speak with members of the committee before Nov. 19 to discuss how she might be reinstated.
Maryland's constitution requires that elected officials convicted of misdemeanors related to their public duties be removed from office. But it also says that if a conviction is overturned or reversed, the elected official shall be reinstated to office.
In June, Alston was found guilty of paying a member of her legal practice $800 in funds from the General Assembly. Since then, the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee elected Greg Hall to replace Alston in the 24th district.
As part of her punishment for her initial conviction, Alston wrote in the letters that she has completed 380 hours of community service with non-profit organizations in Prince George's County. She has also had to pay back the money she misappropriated from the state as well as a $500 fine.
According to The Washington Post, Alston is considering going to court to try to get her seat back. But The Post reported that the lawyer for the Maryland State Legislature, Dan Friedman, believes Alston cannot return.
Last night, Alston ruled out the possibility of a showdown at the statehouse to get access to her old office.
"Don't expect any theatrics," said Alston.