Kimberly Ketter's felony DUI does not disqualify her from city council race

Questions raised last week as to whether Homer City Council candidate Kimberly Ketter is eligible to run for office as a result of her felony conviction for driving under the influence were based on false information.

Ketter can run for the city council seat while on probation.

The city’s declaration of candidacy form requires a candidate to declare that he or she is a qualified voter in order to run for office. Ketter is eligible to vote, and therefore is eligible to run for city council, because she has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.

“I was surprise visited by my Kenai probation officer to give me a Breathalyzer test, which I passed, and cited two statutes that he said meant I could not run. I challenged it because I didn’t feel he had the right to step in on our government and that the statutes were applicable. … They got a clarification straight from the attorney general’s office that said I could run,” Ketter said. “There’s been some judgment online on the Homer boards because of the DUI. People don’t understand the addiction. … It’s my first felony and I’m embarrassed about it, but I want to turn it into something positive.”

A felony DUI is not a felony involving moral turpitude since it is not listed in the definition of moral turpitude in Alaska statutes, wrote state Assistant Attorney General John Bodick in a letter to Department of Corrections spokesperson Corey Allen-Young.

Felonies involving moral turpitude include, but are not limited to, murder, assault, sexual assault, robbery, extortion, arson, bribery, promoting contraband, and endangering the welfare of a child under Alaska Statute 15.80.010(10). A person becomes ineligible to vote if they are convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.

Ketter pleaded guilty to and was convicted of a DUI with two previous DUIs on Aug. 29. Ketter was arrested on April 15 for driving under the influence when she backed her vehicle into the porch of the Alibi Bar, according to a statement given to the court by Homer Police Officer Charles Worland, who responded to the scene and arrested Ketter after she failed field sobriety tests.

The incident in April was Ketter’s third DUI, as she was convicted of two others in 2007 and 2008.

Ketter was sentenced to 239 days in jail with 119 days suspended, according to the judgment for her case. She also must pay a $10,000 fine by the last day of her three-year probation period, $200 in police training and jail surcharges, and restitution to Alibi Bar. Her driver’s license, which was expired at the time of her arrest in April, also has been permanently revoked.

She has completed her time in jail by serving 80 days. She received time off her sentence for good behavior, Ketter said.

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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