How About Drug and Background Checks for Legislators?

23 Sep

Hot topic among the GOP Tea Bagger set right now is Drug Testing for Welfare recipients.

I think we should conduct Drug Testing and Criminal Background checks on anyone elected to office – with the result that if they fail, or have a criminal background they not be allowed to serve. Why exactly do we have a system in which felons can’t vote…But they can serve office and be party to sensitive national secrets? One of the first things they do when you get a Security Clearance at any level in this country is a Criminal Background Check. You got a Felony…You don’t get a clearance…Period.

The Republican/Tea Party member in the following… Failed.

Portsmouth Rep. Daniel P. Gordon has lengthy criminal record

Tea Party Member Daniel P. Gordon

On Monday, the freshman legislator appeared in District Court, Providence, and was ordered held without bail for failing to appear in court in Massachusetts in 2008 on charges of eluding the police and three other motor vehicle violations. He spent the weekend at the Adult Correctional Institutions after the Rhode Island State Police learned that there was a warrant for his arrest stemming from the stop by the Massachusetts State Police on Route 195 in Fall River.

By the end of the day, he had been transferred to Massachusetts authorities, who released him on $1,000 bail, according to the Associated Press.

Court records from Fall River and Taunton, Mass., show that Gordon, 42, a Republican representing Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton, has a serious arrest record. He has spent more than five months locked up in the Bristol County House of Correction in North Dartmouth, Mass., on charges of attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and for a assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend.

Some of the details of his past arrests are sketchy because they took place more than 10 years ago and the case files are in storage in Boston, but there is no question that Gordon has exhibited a propensity for violence.

House Speaker Gordon D. Fox said Monday that he was “deeply troubled” about the information concerning Gordon’s criminal history.

“I would hope that Rep. Gordon would seriously contemplate whether he should continue his service to the State of Rhode Island. It is my feeling that this is so distracting and so disappointing that his constituents of District 71 and the people of this state would be better served if Representative Gordon stepped aside.”…

In September 1996, Gordon, an ex-Marine, while living in Taunton, was arrested by city police on two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building and two other weapons charges. The disposition of that case is unclear, but records from the Bristol County jail show that he served four months there — March 19, 1999, through July 17, 1999 — in that case.

In November 2001, Taunton police arrested him on charges that he assaulted his girlfriend, Michelle Nelson, and threatened to kill her. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was ordered to serve 28 days in jail. He also received 18 months’ probation and was barred from getting within 100 yards of Nelson or having any contact with her.

Gordon’s next brush with the law came in July 2003. Records from Taunton District Court show that he was wanted in Falmouth, Mass., on charges of car theft, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, failing to stop for police, using a motor vehicle without authority, operating a motor vehicle without a license, marked lanes violation and speeding.

The outcome of that case was not available.

On May 31, 2004, the Fall River police arrested Gordon on charges of attempted murder and assault and battery after they responded to a 911 emergency call of a woman screaming for help on Durfee Street.

Two officers arrived and found a woman, Helen Daley, “crying hysterically” on the steps outside 313 Durfee St. She told one of the officers, “He tried to kill me.”

According to a Fall River police report in Gordon’s court file, a witness, Beau Rapoza, told the police that Gordon ran out the back door of the apartment house. He said that Gordon “is a former Marine and in possession of a large knife.”…

Sheriffs led the handcuffed legislator into the fourth-floor courtroom in the Garrahy Judicial Complex. He sat alongside two accused child molesters arrested by the East Providence police over the weekend.

The bespectacled Gordon wore faded jeans and a gray, long-sleeve T-shirt with “Hinckley” emblazoned across his chest, a reference to the Portsmouth-based yacht maker. He agreed to be turned over to the Massachusetts state police and brought to Fall River District Court, where he was granted bail.

Gordon was elected to the House in November, filling the seat previously held by John J. Loughlin II, also a Republican, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for Congress.

Recently, the House Republican caucus expelled him for making derogatory remarks about other GOP representatives.

Gordon also has a pending charge in Rhode Island of driving on a suspended license and faces an Oct. 4 arraignment.

This isn’t the first Republican legislator arrested this year in Rhode Island

Earlier this year, the House minority caucus voted to replace state Rep. Robert A. Watson as the long-time House Minority Leader, after he was stopped by East Haven, Conn. police at a sobriety checkpoint on April 22 and charged with driving under the influence, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges are still pending.


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