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Sheriff: Polk County convicted felon falsified documents to run for public office

The sheriff's office said Martin Grenfell took a felony plea deal in 2013 preventing him from holding office.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Polk County non-violent felon is in handcuffs again after filing to run for the board of county commissioners in June. 

According to the sheriff's office, 56-year-old Martin William Grenfell, a candidate for the office of Polk County Commissioner District 1, was convicted in federal court of a felony in 2013 after entering into a plea deal.

His alleged crime? Trafficking in counterfeit labels, landing him three years’ probation.

According to an affidavit, deputies say Grenfell signed at the time, he alerted to knowing he "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."

It further went on to say, Grenfell received a Sentencing Memorandum in Support of a Reasonable Probationary Sentence that re-enforced his inability to vote, run for office, possess a firearm, and volunteer in his children's school and after school activities.

But, deputies say on June 12, Grenfell completed the "Candidate Oath form" in its entirety designating he was a candidate before having it 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," the sheriff's office wrote. 

Sheriff Grady Judd, who learned about Grenfell's candidacy in the paper, had a few words for his actions. 

“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."

Judd said under Grenfell's conviction he would have to wait until 2021 to apply for clemency and wait for it to be granted or denied before proceeding.

Grenfell was arrested and charged with false swearing with regard to voting.

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