The Law: The Time to Go

Neither state nor federal statutes automatically strip a public official of his office after a criminal conviction. Instead he usually resigns. If he does not, he faces the impeachment process; or,' if he is a legislator, he can be expelled' by his colleagues. But when should they vote, when should a convicted official resign? After the jury pronounces its verdict or after the last appeal is exhausted? The troubles of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Otto Kerner and California's Lieutenant Governor Ed Reinecke have given the questions new importance.

Kerner stood down from his judicial duties even before he was tried on charges...

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