Convicted felon can run again
Former alderman spent nearly 2 years in prison

January 27, 2007
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter

So what if the law says he can't run -- the law doesn't make any sense, a Cook County judge said Friday in ruling that convicted former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano (25th) can stay on the ballot.

Conflicting provisions in Illinois law say felons cannot run for local office but they can run for state offices such as governor.

The law says a felon "can run for governor, can be governor, can unlock the doors to all the prisoners . . . wield a phenomenal amount of power [but cannot] run for alderman," Judge Nathaniel Roosevelt Howse said.

'Unlikely to be hidden'

"More people are aware of candidate Medrano than of their state representative," Howse said. "This has been widely publicized. It is unlikely to be hidden."

So voters in the 25th Ward on the Southwest Side will be able to make an informed choice about whether to vote for the former alderman, who spent nearly two years in federal prison for taking $31,000 in bribes, Howse ruled.

Medrano smiled and put his arm around his son as Howse spoke.

Despite the conviction, Medrano said he is still more fit for office than incumbent Ald. Danny Solis. Solis' lawyers are the ones fighting to bounce Medrano from the ballot, though technically Solis is not the named objector in the case.

Those lawyers, led by Jack Hagerty of Shefsky and Froelich, plan to seek an expedited appeal of Howse's ruling in a continued attempt to get Medrano off the ballot.

Early voting begins Feb. 5 and the election is Feb. 27, so little time remains to knock Medrano off the ballot.

Medrano files challenges

Medrano filed a suit Friday seeking to have Solis thrown off the ballot because he says Solis had someone else sign his statement of ccy -- a charge Solis denies.

Medrano also filed a challenge against another candidate in the race, former Ald. Juan Soliz, who Medrano says lives in Orland Park.

Soliz says he spends only two nights a week in that house with his wife and family but stays five nights a week in a house he owns in the 25th Ward.

There are seven candidates in the race.