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INRE:

: IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LACKAWANNA COUNTY CIVIL ACTION

- EQUITY

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ROBERT C. BOLUS, SR. BOARD OF ELECTIONS, LACKAWANNA COUNTY,

2007 CV 1993

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OPINION MINORA.

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Background

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Currently before the Court sitting simultaneously Lackawanna

as the Election Board of County is a Complaint of Lackawanna

County and the Court of Conunon Pleas of Lackawanna

and Petition for Temporary County.

Injunctive Relief filed by the District Attorney

In said pleading the District Attorney seeks the Court's injunctive relief asking that

we make an apriori detennination of Mr. Bolus' eligibility as a candidate for the Office of Council, City of Scranton. They also ask us to determine that Bolus' Petition to have his name placed on the primary election be invalidated. Finally, the D.A.. seeks an order

compelling the Board of Elections to remove Bolus' name from the ballot. position are three arguments, first, that the

In support of the Commonwealth's candidate's

affidavit attached to Bolus' petitions is incorrect and false. The affidavit states and he is not. The Complaint alleges that it has

that Bolus is '.. .eligible for said office..."

already been determined at Com.

~yRobert C. Bolus. Petitioner v. D. Michael Fisher Attorn~y

General.et aL, 7.85A.2d 174 (2001) by our Conunonwealth Court that Mr. Bolus is ". . .incapable of holding any office in this Commonwealth" due to felony convictions and

crimenjalsi convictions. Id. at pg. 178.

The Commonwealth's

second argument is that Mr. Bolus knew this prohibition

existed and thereby deliberately falsified his candidate affidavits on his petitions which require Bolus to swear under oath that he is "eligible for said office." Finally, the Commonwealth speculates if the Bolus candidacy is allowed to remain on

the ballot other ineligible candidates will flood and skew the ballot with candidates which will cause the voters to waste their vote. Mr. Bolus replies to the Commonwealth's-arguments paragraphs by admitting the first six (6)

of their Complaint and at paragraph seven (7) ad1nitting in part. He admits to but

being on notice that he cannot hold an elected office of trust within the Commonwealth says that doesn't mean he can't run for elective office. He goes on to argue that if he ran

and won he could be pardoned or his case can be overturned. He also acknowledged his

appeals have been exhausted and that he has been rejected three times on December 24,

2002, June 2, 2005 and November 4, 2005 by the Board of Pardons.

Bolus attempts to deflect his legal deficiencies by saying that the people should be allowed to vote for whomever they want regardless of whether that person can hold office.

We find the argument of the Commonwealth to be more legally and logically

persuasive for the reasons that follow.

Le2:a1 Arguments

The election code at 25 P.S. Section 2870 entitled "Affidavits of Candidates"

contains the mandatory requirement that each candidate for any office in our

Commonwealth ".. .shall file with his nominating petition his affidavit stating... (d) that he is eligible for such office;". Emphasis added.

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Our Supreme Court has recently addressed the importance of this statutory

requirement regarding affidavits. In the case of In Re: Nomination Petition qfJoseph Driscoll.

Democratic Candidate/or Congress15thDistrict, 847 A.2d 44 (pa. 2004), the Court put this type of case in context by stating that, "the election code should be construed liberally so as not to deprive an individual of his right to run for office or the voters of their right to elect the

candidate of their choice. Id. Driscollat pg. 48, 49. Furthermore, nominating petitions are

presumed to be valid and the objector has the burden of proving that a nominating petition

is invalid. Id. at pg. 49, 25 P.S. §2937.

Having said tl1at, tl1e Driscoll court went on to discuss the requirements affidavits and states that sworn affidavits". information Election of sworn

. .are designed to insure the legitimacy of

crucial to the election process [and therefore] the policy of liberal reading of the necessary to assure the

Code cannot be distorted to emasculate those requirements

probity of the process." Id. Driscoll g. 50. p

Later on, the Driscoll court discussed the case of In Re: Nomination Petition of Cianfrani, . 359 A.2d 383, 384 (1976) which concluded that "...a false affidavit must least be equaled

with a failure to execute the affidavit and such a defeat cannot be cured by subsequent conduct and the candidates petition was therefore void and invalid." , Id. at pg. 50.

Later on the case of State Ethics Comm'n v. Baldwin, 445 A.2d 1208 (1982) tempered the Cianfrani case somewhat by placing in the requirement that". . .before an affidavit may be there must be evidence that

declared void and invalid because it contains false information,

the candidate knowingly falsified the affidavit with an intent to deceive the electorate." In our case, Mr. Bolus repeatedly signed a candidates affidavits which stated he was eligible for the office of Scranton City Councilman. ineligible to hold any office within the Commonwealth When called on it he admitted he was

and that he was "put on notice of his .

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ineligibility."

See Answer paragraph 7. He never modified his candidates affidavit to

address being "eligible" for the office he sought. We can only construe intent from the actions of a person as we are not mindreaders. Mr. Bolus admits to repeatedly signing affidavits that are essentially false, what

other intent could there be to motivate such an action but to deceive and maintain a viable candidacy? distinguish Only when called on his actions by the Commonwealth's filing did he attempt to

running for office from holding office. This candor was reactive not proactive.

We must deal with the facts as they exist in the here and now. Speculation about new evidence to clear his name is just that speculation. Three pardon rejections are also our

facts here and now. If he wins, he cannot hold office. These are the operative facts here

and now. Protest voters can write in Mr. Bolus if they so choose. Mr. Bolus, a businessman of

some acumen, can still voice his positions on the issues just not from the hollow pulpit of a candidate who cannot serve the office he seeks. Accordingly, the relief sought by the Commonwealth is granted and Mr. Bolus, who

admits he cannot hold office is also barred from running for office. The Lackawanna County Office of Voter Registration Bureau of Elections is hereby ordered to strike the name of Robert Bolus, Sr. from the Republican Party Candidates for Scranton City Council

for the May 2007 Primary Election. It is so ordered.

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INRE:

: IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LACKAWANNA COUNTY CIVIL ACTION - EQUITY

ROBERT C. BOLUS, SR. BOARD OF ELECTIONS, LACKAWANNA COUNTY,

2007 CV 1993

ORDER AND NOW TO WIT, this

and DECREED Republican

19th

day of April 2007, it is hereby ORDERED

from the

that the name of Robert Bolus, Sr. is hereby STRICKEN

Party Ballot for Scranton City Council for the May 2007 Primary Election.

BY THE COURT AND ELECTION BOARD:

The Honorable Carmen D. Minora

The Honorabl

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