Masonic Law concerning petitioners who are felons.

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Jim Rohrman, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Jim Rohrman

    Jim Rohrman Registered User

    3
    0
    0
    I am looking for factual answers to an issue that has come up in my lodge regarding a petition that has been thru the investigation process, found to be favorable. However, the potential candidate is still on deferred adjudication until 2015. Cant find any rule about this other than a mason who is convicted and removed. Question: Can the petitioner apply and be given favorable recommendation while being a felon, and if so, why then do we expel Masons for becoming Felons?
     
  2. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,386
    1,204
    183
    Excellent question! While I find nothing in the Law that specifically addresses this scenario, IMHO (which, with a couple of bucks, will buy you a cup of coffee most anywhere except Starbucks) the following would be a reasonable guide:

    Art. 393. Qualifications.

    <snip> if a candidate has been finally convicted of a felony offense, he shall be deemed disqualified to receive the degrees. <snip>

    Art. 506. Automatic Suspension Or Expulsion.

    c. <snip> in the event a defendant is charged with the offense of a felony and enters a plea of guilty or enters a plea of nolo contendere and the court, after
    hearing evidence, finds that such evidence substantiates the defendant’s guilt and defers further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and
    places the defendant on probation, such proceeding shall be deemed a conviction of a felony for all purposes relative to this article <snip>

    As I read the above, I suspect that the Grand Lodge considers a person under deferred adjudication for a felony to be a convicted felon, and convicted felons are not qualified, under current Law, to petition for the Degrees.

    Also IMHO, a prudent WM would contact the Grand Master & ask for his decision before proceeding any further in this matter.
     
  3. eagle1966

    eagle1966 Guest

    0
    0
    0
    Submit your question in writing to your DDGM and will forward to GM for answer
     
  4. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    To have "deferred adjudication" I think you would have had to plea "nolo contendere".

    ----------------------------
    In short, Deferred Adjudication is a type of probation. A defendant is placed on a probation for a certain period of time. If the probation is successfully completed, the case is "dismissed." A defendant will enter a guilty plea, but the judge does not find the defendant guilty and instead "defers" the finding of guilt. Pleading guilty for Deferred Adjudication is not considered a conviction under Texas law. A criminal background check will show the arrest for the charge, will show the Deferred Adjudication, but it will not show a conviction.

    Written by: Robert Hampton Tuthill
    ------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  5. Jim Rohrman

    Jim Rohrman Registered User

    3
    0
    0
    Thank you Bill.
     
  6. Jim Rohrman

    Jim Rohrman Registered User

    3
    0
    0
    Then would it be fair to say, the candidate should not be allowed to petition until the probation is met?
     
  7. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    I am just telling you how the law treats it. I personaly think yes but the GLoT would say no because probation means gilt. In another thread I tried to get to this problem. Do we as masons want to dicount someone because they make the Freemasons look bad or do we want to discount them because of there moral charitor. Look at the thread about a felony. I think if you are left brain you will say he can't be a Freemason strict GLoT. If you are right brain you will question it. Off the top of my head you would have never seen the Deferred Adjudication if he would have waited before potishining. So is there gilt there of moral problems?

    Another delima I may have steped into.

    Bill_lins is the expert of the letter of the law so you should listen to him at this time.
     
  8. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

    391
    32
    0
    Because you must stand up in court and admit and plead guilty, usually a deferred is considered guilt. In Colorado we allow convicted felons technically, although I happen to disagree with it.

    The Brethren have indicated they like lodges to have discretion in this decision (for fear of the whole...what about a guy who was 18 years old, committed a felony traffic offense, and then at 60 years old after 40 years working as a pastor, etc. etc.) so they can show forgiveness if forgiveness is needed.
     
  9. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    When it comes to Masonary where is forgivness and grace are they only a Christian concept. Those two thing I have not seen much on the way the GLes treat them in Masonic law.
     
  10. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

    679
    318
    63
    You have a point, and then again I think you don't. To me Masonry is about taking a good man and making him better. It's about working on the temple of the body and soul to hit high standards and goals that are hard to reach. Masonry isn't about taking a man and not teaching him how to steal, lie, break the law etc. or whatever got him a felony in the first place.

    So whilst I see the point that forgiveness should be a part of a mason's character I also think that if we have to spend a lot of time teaching our members the basics, we'll never ever reach the heights that we should. Masonry isn't for everybody and I personally don't think it should be.

    But as most things, this certainly isn't a black and white discussion.
     
  11. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    My point was to point out that you can not just go by writen rules you have to use your head and hart. I know for entrance we have to fallow the rules. But i always think of our US founding fathers and how they were felons untill the war for independant was over then they were heros.!

    Since the court alowed derferd adguacation it must have been a dui and was deamed a mistake and did not have all the evedince they needed. The guy probly took a plee to save money and makesure he did not go to jail so he could still suport his famly. All supastion.
     
  12. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,386
    1,204
    183
    If the petitioner did not disclose it on his petition, that is grounds for expulsion in and of itself.
     
  13. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    If you have done a FOIA request for his record after it was fully adjudication it will say he has had a Deferred Adjudication for a trafic offince between start date to stop date and nothing eles I beleive. And the question I would have is do we know if it was a mistamener of folny.

    I should not have got into this thread because y'all will say I am argumentative but I beleive I am discusing points I am passionate about. So what I have said above is what the lodge needs to know about the words "Defferred Adjudication". What Bill_Lins77488 said is the letter of Masonic Governance. Remember governance is not gidance it is what must be done.
     
  14. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

    391
    32
    0
    I was looking at Texas traffic laws and a first offender DUI is not a felony (it is not a felony in any state at the moment). Texas has a felony traffic for multiple convictions and also if you kill or harm somebody. So this guy does NOT have a deferred felony for a simple DUI.
     
  15. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    Ok thanks that was supastition on my part.
     
  16. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    Since a felony is anything that comes with more than one year in jail it could have been alot of things. As laws are passed with zero trolance and mandtory sentiances you will see thing the normal person would not think are problems become a felony. Look up what happens when a CHL holder get a DUI and his gun is on or about his person. I am told that certian munisapalitys in Texas stack everything they think they can get so they will get at least one of them.

    Please Look at PC §46.02

    I am not arguing I am giving you suporting information.
     
  17. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

    358
    14
    18
    In Louisiana you can have a felony. Personaly I am not in favor of a flat out ban against all felons. A felony does not make for a bad person. A guy who cuts down his shotgun to 17 3/4 inches; felon. A guy copies a movie; felon. A guy who beats someone to within an inch of thier life for molesting his child; felon.
     
  18. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

    179
    0
    16
    Are there checks done of the candidate, before consideration of membership? Petitioning a lodge for membership the candidate was examined thoroughly before membership. I myself was.
     
  19. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,386
    1,204
    183
  20. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    754
    26
    48
    I agree with you .
     

Share My Freemasonry