Chuck Turner files suit to get his council job back

TurnerTurnerAs promised, ex-city Councilor Chuck Turner has filed a federal lawsuit demanding he be allowed back into the City Council chambers.

In his suit, co-filed Thursday with several constituents in US District Court in Boston, Turner charges his Dec. 1 expulsion from the council violated his and their Constitutional rights against punishments enacted after the fact - in Turner's case, a council rule allowing for ousters that was passed after his indictment - and that the move leaves all of District 7 without an elected representative. The suit also alleges violations of Turner's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Turner also charges his ouster violates state law, because that only calls for an official's ouster if he's been sent to prison. Turner is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 25.

If Judge Mark Wolf agrees with Turner, he would not only get his $85,000-a-year job back, the city would have to call off the Feb. 15 and March 15 elections to replace him. However, if Judge Douglas Woodlock, who presided over Turner's criminal trial, sends him off to a federal penitentiary, that state law would take effect.

The council voted 11-1 on Dec. 1 to eject Turner following his conviction in federal court on one count of extortion and three of perjury.