Stacie Laughton, First Out Transgender Statewide in U.S., Had a Dark Past
Representative Laughton, (D-Nashua) resigned on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 after a local newspaper The Laconia Daily Sun reported on her criminal past: prior felony convictions. Laughton, then known as Barry Charles Laughton, had three felony convictions in 2008 for credit card fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. She was also convicted of tire slashing and faked illness to gain an ambulance ride. Laughton was sentenced to seven and a half to fifteen years for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and three and a half for falsifying physical evidence. However, those crimes were suspended pending ten years of “good behavior.”
She served four and a half months in prison. Laughton completed her parole in 2010 and her sentence would have been suspended following ten years of good behavior.
Asked to Resign
New Hampshire State House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) called for Laughton to resign, citing that she had failed to inform Nashua voters of her prior convictions. When Laughton ran for office, she was still serving “suspended” sentences for the crimes; she was essentially on probation. You are still considered a convicted felon by the state until the “final discharge” of your sentence. Only then can you run for or hold office.
Laughton claimed that she never intended to mislead voters. She told local television station WMUR that she believed she was eligible for office and was not aware of a statue that prevents felons from running or holding office until their “final discharge.”
“No one asked me to resign, Laughton attests, “but they were asking me to seriously consider all of the different things that have been presented to me… and they urged me to make a final decision sooner rather than later.”
Laughton was contacted by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley who influenced her decision to resign. She would have taken office on December 5, 2012.
On November 27th, Laughton said she would step down. She ceremoniously signed her letter of resignation on November 29th on a cable access show hosted by fellow Democrat and friend, State Rep. Ken Gidge.
Her final decision was based on the term “final discharge” as it applied to two suspended sentences which she did not have to serve time for. Settled by the Attorney General’s office which reviewed the language in the law that states whether convicted felons are eligible to run for office.
Wants to Run Again
“ I never once believed that I’d done anything wrong in this process. I believed that once you finish your probation and parole, you are all done. I really just wanted the chance to get on with my life and serve the people,” she elaborated. “I feel called to public service.”