Board of County Commissioner Candidate Arrested

On July 29, 2020, PCSO detectives arrested 56 year-old Martin William Grenfell, candidate for the office of Polk County Commissioner, District 1.

On February 22, 2013, Grenfell was convicted in federal court of felony Trafficking in Counterfeit Labels and received three years’ probation.

On November, 18, 2012, Grenfell entered into a plea agreement for the above charge. According to the affidavit, “On page 14 of {Grenfell’s signed] plea agreement, the following is written, ‘The defendant also understands that defendant will be adjudicated guilty of the offenses to which defendant has pleaded and, if any of such offenses are felonies, may thereby be deprived of certain rights, such as the right to vote, to hold public office, to serve on a jury, or to have possession of firearms.’”

According to the affidavit, “Grenfell received a Sentencing Memorandum in Support of a Reasonable Probationary Sentence. On page four (4) the following is written, ‘Mr. Grenfell pled guilty to a non-violent felony. As a result, he will lose his right to vote, run for office, possess a firearm, and probably most importantly to him, the opportunity to volunteer in his children’s school and after school activities.’”

The affidavit continues, “Under Article 6, Section 4, of the Florida Constitution, it is written, ‘No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.’ The Florida Constitution does not include restoring the ability to run for office upon the completion of all terms of a sentence, only voting rights.”

According to the affidavit, Grenfell “completed the Candidate Oath form in its entirety on 6/12/2020. On the Candidate Oath form, it states, ‘I, (Name)  am a candidate for the office of (Office)  (District #), (Circuit #), (Group or Seat #); I am a qualified elector of ____ County, Florida; I am a qualified under the Constitution and the Laws of Florida to hold the office to which I desire to be nominated or elected.’ To which Martin printed his name “Martin Grenfell”, the office “Polk County Commission”, the district “1”, and the County “Polk”, and signed the bottom of the form in the “Signature of Candidate” portion.”

The Candidate Oath form was then notarized.  By signing the Oath, Grenfell attested that he is qualified to hold office under the Constitution and the Laws of Florida which includes the prohibition against holding an elected office by a convicted felon.

“During the election process it is fundamental that individuals comply with the rules and laws that are in place to ensure a fair and honest election.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

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