WLOX Editorial: Why let an indicted politician decide whether he stays in office?

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd was indicted on numerous felony charges, including extortion, fraud, embezzlement, and perjury. Of course, he is considered innocent until proven guilty in court. Now there is a debate over whether Byrd should stay in office while he faces the criminal charges or resign.

Some say for the sheriff to stay on the job under this indictment, smacks of a double standard when he fired a deputy who was indicted on a single misdemeanor charge. To us there is a much bigger problem here.

While Sheriff Byrd could resign, why do we leave it to an indicted politician to decide for himself whether he stays in office? Mississippi law should be changed when it comes to dealing with potentially corrupt politicians.

Let's put into place a method of at least temporarily suspending elected officials under felony indictment. Other states have laws where sheriffs and other elected officials can be removed at least temporarily until the criminal case is decided.

The politician gets his day in court and if he wins, he goes back on the job. But until then a non-indicted person is appointed to run the office.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

Rick Williams
WLOX-TV General Manager

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