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Removal from Office

Provides that an officer forfeits his office upon conviction of designated crimes

By Chris Micheli, August 17, 2020 6:30 am

Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 7 deals with removal from office. Article 1, containing Sections 3000 to 3003, is on general provisions and was enacted in 1943. Section 3000 provides that an officer forfeits his office upon conviction of designated crimes as specified in the Constitution and laws of the State.

Pursuant to Section 3001, any state, county, or city officer who is intoxicated while in discharge of the duties of his or her office, or by reason of intoxication is disqualified for the discharge of, or neglects his or her duties, is guilty of a misdemeanor. On conviction, he or she forfeits the office and the vacancy is filled in the same manner as if the officer had filed his or her resignation in the proper office.

Under Section 3002, whenever the Governor is authorized to appoint a person to an office subject to confirmation by the Senate, and no fixed term has been provided by law for the office, then the Governor may at any time, without cause and without hearing, remove the incumbent from the office and fill the vacancy occasioned by such removal in the same manner as if the officer had filed his or her resignation.

Section 3003 specifies that an elected officer of the state or a city, county, city and county, or district in this state forfeits his or her office upon the conviction of a crime pursuant to the federal or state Stolen Valor Act.

Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 7, Article 2 concerns impeachment and contains Sections 3020 to 3040. Section 3020 provides that state officers elected on a statewide basis, members of the State Board of Equalization, and judges of state courts are subject to impeachment for misconduct in office. And, under Section 3020.5, the Senate when sitting as the court of impeachment is a court of record. The officers of the Senate are the officers of the court.

Pursuant to Section 3021, all impeachments are by resolution adopted, originated in, and conducted by managers elected by the Assembly. Section 3022 specifies that managers prepare articles of impeachment, present them at the bar of the Senate, and prosecute them. The trial is before the Senate, sitting as a court of impeachment. Section 3023 provides that, when an officer is impeached by the Assembly for a misdemeanor in office, the articles of impeachment are delivered to the President of the Senate.  

Section 3031 provides that, at the time and place appointed, and before the Senate acts on the impeachment, the secretary administers to the President of the Senate, and the President of the Senate to each of the members of the Senate present, an oath truly and impartially to hear, try, and determine the impeachment. No member of the Senate can act or vote upon the impeachment, or upon any question arising thereon, without having taken this oath.  

Section 3032 specifies that the defendant cannot be convicted on impeachment without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members. If two-thirds of the members elected do not concur in a conviction, the defendant is acquitted. Section 3033 states that, after conviction and, at the time appointed by the Senate, the Senate pronounces judgment in the form of a resolution entered upon the Senate Journal.  

Under Section 3034, on the adoption of the resolution by a majority of the members present who voted on the question of acquittal or conviction, it becomes the judgment of the Senate. Section 3037 specifies that, whenever articles of impeachment against any officer subject to impeachment are presented to the Senate, the officer is temporarily suspended from office and cannot act in his or her official capacity until acquittal.

Pursuant to Section 3038, upon temporary suspension of any officer other than the Governor, the office at once can be temporarily filled by an appointment made by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The office is filled by the appointee until the acquittal of the party impeached or, in case of his removal, until the vacancy is filled at the next election.

Under Section 3039, if the Lieutenant Governor is impeached, notice of the impeachment is immediately given to the Senate by the Assembly in order that another president may be chosen.

Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 7, Article 3 concerns removal other than by Impeachment and contains Section 3060 to 3075. Section 3060 specifies that an accusation in writing against any officer of a district, county, or city, including any member of the governing board or personnel commission of a school district or any humane officer, for willful or corrupt misconduct in office, may be presented by the grand jury of the county for, or in, which the officer accused is elected or appointed.

Under Section 3073, the same proceedings may be had on like grounds for the removal of a district attorney, except that the accusation must be delivered by the foreman of the grand jury to the clerk, and by him to a judge of the superior court of the county. The judge appoints a person to act as prosecuting officer in the matter, or place the accusation in the hands of the district attorney of an adjoining county, and require him or her to conduct the proceedings.

Section 3074 specifies that any officer subject to removal pursuant to this article may be removed from office for willful or corrupt misconduct in office occurring at any time within the six years immediately preceding the presentation of an accusation by the grand jury.

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