Relief By Full Restoration of Citizenship Rights
As the Result of a Disqualifying Conviction
Both LMRDA section 504 and ERISA section 411 provide for complete
relief from their respective employment disabilities if, prior to the end of
disability period, the disqualified person's "citizenship rights, having
revoked as a result of such conviction, have been fully restored." 29
§§ 504(a)(A) and 1111(a)(A).|
Full Restoration of Rights Lost by Conviction of Federal Crimes
Although a Federal conviction does not result in any broad
of rights derived from Federal citizenship, certain statutes revoke
Federal rights and privileges upon conviction for specified offenses.
See, for example, the right to serve on a Federal jury (28 U.S.C.
1865) and right to hold Federal office or employment (18 U.S.C.
593, 1901, 2071, 2381, 2383, 2385, 2387). The fact that a convicted Federal
offender may have his revoked citizenship rights in a particular state
to him does not "fully" restore his citizenship rights lost as a result of
Federal conviction. See Viverito v. Levi, 395 F. Supp. 47, 48
(N.D. Ill. 1975), denying employee benefit plan employment under 29 U.S.C.
1111 to an individual who had been convicted in Federal court of conspiracy
bank embezzlement despite the restoration of rights lost in Illinois. The
noted that the disqualified individual was free to pursue alternative relief
under 29 U.S.C. § 1111 in the form of an exemption from the disability
service in a particular prohibited capacity. Id. at 49. For an
statutory scheme and result, see Beecham v. United States, 511
368, 114 S.Ct. 1669, 1671, 128 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994), where the Court held that
because the exemption of convicted persons from the firearms disability, in
Firearms Owners Protection Act (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)), by restoration
"civil rights" is governed by the law of the convicting jurisdiction,
Federal offenders were not entitled to relief by having obtained state
restoration of revoked civil rights outside the convicting jurisdiction.
Full Restoration of Rights Lost by Conviction of State Crimes
When it enacted 29 U.S.C. §§ 504 and 1111, Congress did not
specifically define the revoked "citizenship rights" which need to be fully
restored in order to relieve a disqualified person of the statutory
disabilities. However, Congress did reject a statutory scheme which would
based disqualification simply on the eligibility to vote in a particular
105 Cong.Rec. 1596-97 (1959) (remarks of Congressman Loser) cited in
v. Teamsters Local 371, 832 F.2d 976, 978 (7th Cir. 1987).
Moreover, the term "citizenship rights" may be interpreted as
to more than traditional "civil rights" such as the right to vote, hold
office, and serve as a juror. Compare, for example, United States
Cassidy, 899 F.2d 543 (6th Cir. 1990), interpreting the exemption from
Federal firearms disability as requiring a restoration of "civil rights"
consisting of "the right to vote, the right to seek and hold public office
the right to serve on a jury" as contrasted with a "full" restoration of
rights and privileges" in the jurisdiction of conviction. Id. at
Although not a judicially settled question, it may be argued that
Congress intended that a full restoration of citizenship rights would depend
the convicting state's restoration of all those revoked rights which the
itself had conferred on its citizens. At a minimum, such rights would
traditional political civil rights of state citizens within their respective
states governing voting, officeholding, etc. Other rights may include rights
the kind protected by Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution, as
and Immunities of the Citizens in the several states," such as rights
to professional licensing, commercial occupations and property ownership,
example. See Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S.
64-66, 108 S.Ct.2260, 2264-65 (1988) and cases cited in that decision.
However, because Congress recognized that some states do not revoke
restore citizenship rights of disqualified criminal offenders, the absence
revocation or restoration procedure has no effect on the operation of the
disability on the convicted person. Harmon v. Teamsters Local 371,
supra at 979 (holding that the Iowa procedure for first offenders,
did not treat a defendant's notation of guilt as a conviction in Iowa, was a
conviction for purposes of 29 U.S.C. §§ 504 despite the absence
resulting revocation or restoration of citizenship rights under Iowa law).
Congress also intended that a restoration of citizenship rights
an implicit requirement of rehabilitation and trustworthiness to hold a
otherwise prohibited by the disability statutes. Nass v. Local 348,
F. Supp. 217 (E.D.N.Y. 1980), aff'd without opinion, 657 F.2d 264 (2d
1981) (holding that a state court's issuance of a certificate of relief from
civil disabilities on the day of sentence was only an aid to rehabilitation,
contrasted with evidence of prior rehabilitation, and did not indicate the
trustworthiness sufficient to lift the section 504 disability).
[cited in USAM 9-138.100; USAM 9-138.180]