The Law Is A Ass #446: The Kingpin Becomes A Night-Mayor
Well, you didn’t think he was going to take it lying down, did you? He’s the Kingpin of Crime, for crying out loud; Mister Passive-Aggressive, without the whole passive part. After Matt (Daredevil) Murdock got a trial court to agree that super heroes could testify anonymously and while masked – you did read the last four columns, right? – Wilson (the aforementioned Kingpin of Crime) Fisk appealed that decision. And when the Supreme Court upheld Matt’s victory, the Kingpin turned to Plan C.
The story offered an explanation of sorts how for Kingpin won. He waited until the last possible day to file his candidacy, so the people didn’t have time to think about their choice. Then he ran on a platform of not being in anyone’s pocket, and while campaigning simply ignored any allegations of his past peccadilloes.
I don’t buy it. Sure something like that might happen in the real world, but I expect more from my works of fiction.
Anyway, I’m here to set Marvel New York’s mind at ease. The Kingpin of Crime isn’t really your mayor. And I can prove it.
First, could the Kingpin stealth file, the way he did? Let’s check.
Under New York Correction Law §§ 703A and 706, before a convicted felon can hold a public office, he needs to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct, a process which takes six months to a year. So, if Kingpin was convicted of a felony, he would have needed to file for that certificate long before the election. Hardly conducive to the stealth filing he used to befuddle his opponents.
But was Kingpin ever convicted of a felony? That’s a good question. One for which I don’t have a good answer, because Fisky’s previous court history is a bit muddled.
In Daredevil #300, Fisk’s criminal empire crumbled around him and he was indicted on several felony counts in federal court. He was sent to Ryker’s Island. Later he was even sent to the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. While he was there, in an attempt to get his sentence reduced, the Kingpin told the FBI that Matt Murdock was Daredevil (Daredevil vol 2 #76).
The federal pen in Leavenworth is exactly what its name says it is, a federal prison. Prison is generally where convicts are sent after they have been found guilty. Before and during their trials, federal prisoners are housed in jails attached to federal justice centers, so that they can be readily available for court appearances without having to bring them in from far-away places such as Leavenworth, Kansas. It’s called your tax dollars not at work unnecessarily. If Kingpin was serving time at Leavenworth, it is logical to presume he had been convicted of the federal crimes with which he had been indicted.
Except this is comic-book law, and when is that ever logical?
Sometime later (Daredevil vol 2 #93), Matt Murdock acquiesced to the request of the Kingpin’s dying wife, Vanessa, to have the Kingpin cleared of all criminal charges. Matt did this, without any convincing explanation of why Vanessa would want it or why Matt would do it. However the feds only agreed to drop the charges against Kingpin, if Kingpin agreed to renounce his US citizenship and permanently leave the country.
So either the feds dropped the charges before Kingpin was actually convicted or they granted him some sort of pardon-like something after he had been convicted. Which doesn’t matter. Either way, Fisk wouldn’t need to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct. So he could stealth file.
Meaning that impediment to his running for mayor of New York and winning the election wouldn’t exist. But that wouldn’t do anything about that other impediment to his running for office.
No it isn’t that Kingpin renounced his citizenship. I read the New York City Charter – okay, I skimmed the Charter, it’s long – and I didn’t see anything that forbad non-citizens from running for mayor of New York. So the fact that Kingpin wasn’t a citizen wouldn’t preclude him from running for mayor.
But the fact that he was serving time in a federal prison would.
Remember, as part of his plea deal with the feds, Kingpin agreed to leave the United States permanently. New York may not require its mayor to be a citizen, but it does require that its mayor live in the city. So in order to run for mayor of New York, the Kingpin had to very publicly return to the United States.
At which point, he violated his deal with the feds, which would have freed the feds from their part of the deal as well. As soon as the Kingpin publicly returned to the USA, the feds would have resurrected him with all those federal crimes they had dismissed earlier.
If he had been convicted and then the charges dropped as part of the deal, the convictions would have been reinstated. If the charges had been dropped before the Kingpin stood trial, the feds would have arrested him, reindicted him, and then tried him on charges that were so compelling Kingpin, ever the epitome of over-inflated self-confidence, tried to cut a deal to reduce his sentence.
Either would have been enough to prevent the Kingpin from being elected.
Which is nice to know. It means all those stories I’ve been reading for the past couple of years about a thoroughly corrupt person being elected Chief Executive didn’t really happen.