Prosecutor: Johnson can't run - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Prosecutor: Johnson can't run

McHugh: Felony charge for heroin possession would stop sheriff bid

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Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The criminal history of a declared candidate for Kootenai County sheriff might prevent him from entering the race.

Adam M. Johnson, a former North Idaho businessman and Post Falls Chamber of Commerce board member who played a central role in a high-profile shooting in downtown Coeur d'Alene, announced in January he planned to run.

It's not the shooting, however, but a guilty plea to a heroin possession charge, a felony, last year that might derail his shot at being the county's top cop.

"I knew he was convicted of a felony," said Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes. "I asked the prosecutor to review the law."

Barry McHugh, the county's prosecutor, submitted a written opinion on Wednesday.

"In conclusion, it is my opinion that Mr. Johnson is not qualified to file a declaration of candidacy until his rights are restored," McHugh wrote.

Hayes said if Johnson shows up to file for sheriff, he'll be told he's not eligible.

Johnson, 27, said Thursday, "It's an opinion, and not a matter of law."

He said he plans to file soon and see what happens from there.

"It's something I'm passionate about, and I want to proceed," Johnson said. "Obviously, somebody has a concern that I'm running."

He said he's consulting with legal counsel for guidance as he proceeds.

"It's uncharted territory," Johnson said.

He wants to follow the law, he said, it's just not clear what it is in this case.

In McHugh's evaluation of Johnson's ability to run for sheriff, he pointed out that Johnson is on supervised probation for the heroin conviction.

Johnson in January received what's called a "withheld judgment" on the heroin charge, so if he completes the two years of probation he was ordered to serve without violations the case against him will be dismissed. Until then, he's considered a convicted felon, according to a July 1991 written opinion by the Idaho attorney general's office, which McHugh forwarded to the clerk's office along with his own opinion.

It is possible for Johnson to restore his right to hold office before the probation period has ended.

According to Idaho law, McHugh wrote, "Mr. Johnson could petition the court and be granted early termination of his probation prior to filing his petition for candidacy."

Therefore, McHugh said, if the proper steps were followed and if the court sees fit, Johnson could become qualified to be a candidate and hold civil office.

Johnson also was charged in Kootenai County in connection with a shooting in downtown Coeur d'Alene in December 2009.

He was the alleged shooter in that confrontation, which sent two Moses Lake, Wash., men to the hospital.

In that case, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence, a misdemeanor.

A grand jury decided against felony charges.

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  • Joseph Jr posted at 10:55 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    I am confused. Is it ethics McHugh is concerned about or public safety? Maybe it is the same legal system perpetuated by LEO's and nationwide prosecutor's which allows white collar people to receive white collar sentences, for blue collar crimes.

    Ironically, McHugh's office has hired an ex-Kootenai County prosecutor to take on a Shoshone County case. Course this case isn't just any ol' case. Oh no...

    It's a case where the defendant is accused of grotesque acts against a small child. BUT, of course the defendant is closely related to a Shoshone County Commissioner (uncle) and a Shoshone County police officer (father). Not just any regular ol' case, where the defendant is treated like all other indigent defendant's. Nope, this case is special.

    Ironically, the defendant is the only person listed in the Kootenai Jail roster whose charges are not listed as are the other defendant's. In fact, this is the only defendant whose charges are erroneously listed as hold for another agency, which of course is FICTION as the trial will be Kooteai County to supposedly "avoid a conflict of interest."

    Yup, a "Conflict of Interest."

    I guess this special defendant was also instantly made a "Trustee" after being arrested, at his first jail stop in Shoshone. Imagine that! Seems the defendant's father was invovled in a potential scuffle down at the jail in order to protect his son. Imagine that! If all mommy's and daddy's could just enter the jail facility and slap cuffs on the other defendant's housed in the jail, IF they thought their little Johnny or Mary was in danger.

    Special treatment for special people!

    So, an EXPERIENCED ex-Kootenai County prosecutor who worked closely with McHugh for years, has magically become the indigent defendant's attorney! A well to do, and well connected attorney. We are not talking some typical public defender. Oh no...the best, and connected so darn well.

    It is interesting that this public defender (former prosecutor) left office about 2006 amid a scandal (oh my...) that included exchanging sexual emails with female staff (they seemed to enjoy the emails) including PHOTOS of children...most would not feel were appropriate and possibly might border on...

    The CDA Press has those articles regarding the former prosecutor (defendant's attorney), yet the Press seemingly has avoided publicizing the case. You know, making the connections.

    MORALS and ETHICS Mr. McHugh? I wonder how and where McHugh draws the line? That "line," must be kinda' wavy and vague. Personally, I'd rather have a drug addict around than a child molester, but that's just me. Not everyone feels the same way.

    It's no wonder a man on probation for heroin (and invovlement in a shooting?) believes he can become the next Kootenai County Sheriff. Under the present ethical standards, there should not be a problem. After all...the man is going to have is slate wiped clean when he successfully completes probation!

    I have to wonder (sorry...), if all defendant's with cases involving heroin and other illegal substances are allowed to have their slates wiped clean. Hey, just wondering! This is the standard? I have no doubt, the political connections were not of any assistance to this man. Boise would be too harsh for such a fine man. Boise is for the trashy people who are addicted to drugs. Not pilars of the community! By golly!

    McHugh, you are in a world of your own. Nothing like "Friends and Family." I hope both cases make the national news to expose this kind of unethical corruption that is going on. Make no mistake: If you are well connected, there is little for your family to worry about, regardless of what you or they are invovled in.

    I assume the former prosecutor (missing...) who failed to prosecute in the Sandusky case a few years ago (child molestation accusations), eventually realized that the real criminals were actually running the show (friends and family). I kinda' think that guy might have had a moral and ethical moment and couldn't live with his decision. Course, that's just what "I" think.

    I hope the Coeur d'Alene Press keeps private the identities of those who post their opinions.

  • phredgtsd posted at 10:02 am on Sun, Mar 4, 2012.

    phredgtsd Posts: 28

    Oh, yes, just what the citizens need. Some nut ball for a sheriff that was CONVICTED of a felony and a misdemeanor. HEROIN? Drunk while carrying a weapon and then using it too. Great judgment. I can only imagine what the current members of the Sheriff's Department are thinking. Can you imagine this whack trying to lead a department of professional law enforcement personnel with that baggage???? Hey Adam, get a clue and go back into the dark world from where you came. We don't need what you have to offer. If this wasn't so crazy it would be funny.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 3:19 pm on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    "What was Johnson thinking?! Everyone knows you have to wait until AFTER you get elected to be convicted of a felony. Then you can participate in Idaho politics without question."


  • Icecold posted at 2:26 pm on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    Icecold Posts: 50

    "a July 1991 written opinion by the Idaho attorney general's office" The attorney general's office legal opinion isn't law.... As Dirty Harry well stated "opinions are like ****oles, everyone has one." I won't be voting for Mr. Johnson, however I just wanted to give my opinion:)

  • JonnyQPubic posted at 10:22 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    JonnyQPubic Posts: 325

    Oh man, now you're taking all the fun out of this election.

  • CaiusCosades posted at 10:12 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    Fear and Loathing in the CDA Sheriff's Department

  • I Carry posted at 7:33 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    I Carry Posts: 438

    Can you just imagine the fun an attorney will have with Mr. Johnson if he has to be in court while our Sheriff?
    I really think the citizens deserve better then a person with a background such as this fellow has.
    During the forum held at the library last week, Mr. Johnson stated he wanted to offer "transparency" with regard to his background - however, his Idaho Public Record has been sealed from us.
    Say what you may, at least we can be proud that our current Sheriff can carry a firearm!!! Oh, and he hasn't only been in the jail through the back door.

  • SamuelStanding posted at 7:26 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 529

    Well now!
    As a registered voter, Kootenai County tax payer and resident... I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MR. JOHNSON RUNNING.

    Is he going to use the same ADA complaint that the police officer relieved of duties for his DUI used? " I have a disability...I do and sell drugs? I am being discrimintated against!" CONVICTED FELON. Sounds like someone we should have running a department which PROTECTS and SERVES it's residents...Oh yah, access to all of the drugs from any and all drug busts.

    I sure hope the law does not have a loop hole here, if it DOES! We need to plug it NOW!

  • ShinyRockDale posted at 6:39 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    ShinyRockDale Posts: 26

    The only thing Adam Johnson is passinate about is being above the law, to heck with everyone else as a sociopath.

  • immortal posted at 3:19 am on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    immortal Posts: 258

    What was Johnson thinking?! Everyone knows you have to wait until AFTER you get elected to be convicted of a felony. Then you can participate in Idaho politics without question.

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