Southfield Clerk Arrested, Charged with Election-Related Felonies

Southfield Clerk Arrested, Charged with Election-Related Felonies

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 23, 2019)

Southfield, MI – Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins has been arrested and charged with six election-related felonies.

According to a press release by the Attorney General’s office, “Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was joined today by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to announce six felony charges filed this morning in Oakland County 46th District Court against Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins.

The charges, which stem from the Nov. 6, 2018, general election, are as follows:

Count One. Election Law – Falsifying Returns/Records, a five-year felony and/or $1,000;

Count Two. Forgery of a Public Record, a 14-year felony;

Count Three.  Misconduct in Office, a five-year felony and/or $10,000;

Count Four.  Using a Computer to Commit a Crime – Election Law – Falsifying Returns/Records, a seven-year felony and/or $5,000;

Count Five.  Using a Computer to Commit a Crime – Forgery of a Public Record, a 10-year felony and/or $10,000;

Count Six.  Using a Computer to Commit a Crime – Misconduct in Office, a seven-year felony and/or $5,000.

“When we took office, both Secretary Benson and I committed to doing everything in our power to make sure that Michigan’s elections were safe from every conceivable threat,” said Nessel.  “That commitment – made to the people of this state – includes taking swift and decisive action when a public official fails to fulfill the important role that he or she plays in protecting the integrity of our elections.”

Discrepancies in the Southfield voter count were brought to the Secretary of State’s attention by the Oakland County Clerk’s office following its efforts to certify Southfield’s absentee ballots.  Michigan State Police conducted a thorough investigation and determined that election records had been altered.

The prosecution will be led by the Public Integrity Unit of the Department of Attorney General, which ensures that public officials or law enforcement officers who commit crimes in Michigan – regardless of position, standing or party affiliation – are held accountable.

“Today upon learning that the Southfield City Clerk was formally charged with multiple crimes under Michigan election law, I exercised my authority under Michigan law to exert supervisory control over local election officials and directed the clerk to refrain from administering any election while there are charges pending against her,” Benson said. “Our elections are the foundation of our democracy, and under my and Attorney General Nessel’s administration there will be no tolerance for any actions that undermine that foundation – anywhere, anytime, by any person or official.”

Hawkins, 38, of Southfield, was elected Southfield city clerk in November 2017.  Prior to election she was the city clerk of Pontiac, a non-elected position, where she was responsible for that city’s elections.

Hawkins turned herself in and was charged and arraigned late this morning in the 46th District Court (Southfield) on six felony counts in front of visiting judge Michelle Friedman Appel, chief judge of the 45th District Court. Hawkins was given a $15,000 personal bond and a probable cause conference was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30. A preliminary examination hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, before Judge Appel.

Community Relations Director Michael Manion said “The City of Southfield is continuing to gather all of the pertinent facts associated with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office investigation of Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins. The City does not have all of the facts at this time and there will be no rush to judgement. The City will also be conducting a thorough internal investigation and review of these charges. After the City has examined the underlying facts of this matter, we will explore all appropriate and legal avenues to protect the voting process and rights of the Southfield Citizenry. Mrs. Hawkins will be on administrative leave with pay at this time. The City of Southfield will continue to fully cooperate with the State of Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan State Police.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

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