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Unofficial Opinion 97-10

Unofficial Opinion 97-10

March 11, 1997
To: 

County Attorney
Newton County

Re: 

Restoration of all civil and political rights, excluding the right to receive, possess, or transport in commerce a firearm, is not determinative of whether an applicant for professional bondsperson "is a person of good moral character and has not been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude."

You have asked for an opinion regarding the effect of a restoration of civil and political rights upon the required qualification under O.C.G.A. § 17-6-50(b)(3) that an applicant for bondsperson is both a person of "good moral character and has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude." It should be noted that the requirement is twofold: the person must be of good moral character and secondly, the person cannot have a conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude. Accordingly, under the statute, a person must satisfy both requirements.

As you have noted in the materials and your letter, which accompanied your inquiry, the issues addressed in 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 136; 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. 83-33; and 1986 Op. Att'y Gen. 86-4, involve provisions in the Constitution and statutes which specifically provide that a person who has been pardoned or had civil or political rights restored may gain the right to hold office, sit on a grand jury, or possess a firearm respectively. See also 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. 73-61 (pardon does not allow denial of conviction); 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. U80-32 (pardon required for convicted felon to receive a firearm

license); 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. U90-6 (probation under First Offender Act does not render probationer incompetent to serve on jury); 1992 Op. Att'y Gen. 92-3 (requirement of 10 years plus restoration of civil rights to hold any office or appointment of honor or trust in the state).

Notably, O.C.G.A. § 17-6-50(b)(3) has no restoration-of-rights exception to the requirements imposed by that Section, distinguishing it from the provisions addressed in the above opinions. Thus, the reasoning in those opinions is not directly applicable to your question.

Importantly in this case, the restoration of rights does not include the right to receive, possess, or transport in commerce a firearm, clearly establishing that not all rights have been restored. A restoration of civil and political rights does not in any event negate the underlying conviction. 1973 Op. Att'y Gen. 73-61.

It is, therefore, my unofficial opinion that the restoration of civil and political rights does not negate the conviction for purposes of O.C.G.A. § 17-6-50(b)(3), nor does it negate the separate necessity for finding that the applicant is of good moral character.

Prepared by:

CAROL A. CALLAWAY
Senior Assistant Attorney General