Written by Mike Martin
2004 guilty plea nets candidate one year probation
COLUMBIA, 3/22/12 (Beat Byte) --
In February 2005, the State of Missouri discharged 6th Ward Columbia City Council candidate Bill Tillotson
from a one year probation
he served for violating RsMo 192.300
, a Class A misdemeanor -- one step below a felony.
Arrested, charged, and in February 2004, arraigned by Boone County Circuit Court judge Larry Bryson
, Mr. Tillotson pled guilty to violating a local law: a Boone County animal control ordinance. Why the violation was serious enough to merit such a charge and sentence isn't clear from court filings.
1. I will obey all federal and state laws, municipal and county ordinances. I will report all arrests to the Office of Circuit Clerk.
2. I will not associate with any person who has been convicted of a felony.
3. I will not have in my possession or use any controlled substance except as prescribed for me by a licensed medical practitioner.
I have read or have had read to me the Order of Probation and the conditions set out therein. I agree to comply with such conditions during the period of my probation. Signed: William Tillotson
The court also ordered Mr. Tillotson to pay $111.50 in restitution.
The conviction raises a question that comes up time and again in campaigns. Civil lawsuits and traffic violations aside -- unless they are unusually serious -- if a candidate has disregarded the law to the point of criminal action, should that candidate be in a position to make laws?
Mr. Tillotson's situation "indicates an attitude toward the law that is more flexible than I would prefer in a candidate," said Jim Muench, a supporter of Mr. Tillotson's opponent, Barbara Hoppe, and former chair of the Shepard Blvd. Neighborhood Association in the 6th Ward.