Archived Story

Despite felony, Young legal to run for office

Published 1:56pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Editor’s note: Several readers have asked The Outlook to write a story explaining mayoral candidate Bill Young’s felony conviction in the 1990s and how he is able to legally run for mayor.

Alexander City Councilman Bill Young, a candidate for mayor in the upcoming elections and the son of Alexander City’s sitting Mayor Barbara Young, was convicted of a federal felony – fraud by wire – and served 11 months in prison 19 years ago. However, in 2007, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles restored his voter rights in the State of Alabama, which makes him eligible to hold public office here under Alabama state law.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Young was incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery,  a minimum-security prison for federal offenders, located at Maxwell Air Force Base. Young began his sentence July 6, 1993 and was relocated from the Federal Prison Camp to his home June 30, 1994. Young said that he spent the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.
Young initially refused to discuss this with The Outlook on the record, saying that the newspaper was trying to discredit him as a candidate for mayor.

Later, after The Outlook‘s repeated requests for comment over several months’ time, Young said on the record, “I’m not going to respond to something that has absolutely nothing to do with this election. This happened when I was in my late 20s, and I’m 52 years old now.”

After discussion with the newspaper’s legal counsel, The Outlook contacted the clerk›s office of the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Eastern Division and requested copies of the public records pertaining to Young’s case, which were provided.

According to a judgment obtained from the United States District Court, William Hare Young, Sr. pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by wire. The judgment is signed and dated June 17, 1993.

Fraud by wire, or Title 18 U.S.C. Section 1343, is described in the United States code as “… having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice …”

Young was employed at Russell Corporation at the time the offense occurred and lost his job because of the incident.

A conviction of fraud by wire carries with it a maximum sentence of 20 years, which makes it a Class C felony.

The judgment called for Young to be committed to custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons for 15 months on or before noon July 7, 1993.

On the statement of reasons section of the case judgment, the court advised that a $3,000 to $30,000 fine could be imposed, but this fine was waived due to Young’s inability to pay. Restitution was set at $197,841.18, but the court declined to order restitution due to Young’s earning ability and financial resources.

According to officials at the Bureau of Prisons, Young’s sentence ended Aug. 5, 1994.

In Alabama, any felony conviction results in the loss of voting rights.

While only the president of the United States can issue a pardon for a federal crime that applies to all 50 states, those who have been convicted of a federal felony have the right to petition the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles to restore their civil and political rights, such as the right to vote and right to bear arms.

Young did so and the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Young a pardon that restored his voting rights in the State of Alabama on Oct. 16, 2007, according to a certificate from the Board of Pardons and Paroles which Young provided The Outlook yesterday.

Young’s right to possess a pistol or other firearms was not restored, his felony record was not expunged and his crime was not fully pardoned.

However, Young did serve his full sentence and did have his voter rights restored in Alabama and has no further debt to society related to the felony conviction.

Since the State of Alabama requires all mayoral or city council candidates to have the right to vote in order to run for office, the restoration of Young’s voter rights in 2007 makes him eligible to hold his position as an elected official on the Alexander City Council and to run for mayor in the upcoming city election.