Can a felon--after having served his sentence or not--serve as President? Or even run for office?

Wasn’t Mayor Berry of Washington DC re-elected after his crack conviction?

Is there a level at which you can’t serve, eg governor, President? Perhaps anything at state level and below is local law–but Federal?

Part of the question is also rather than running for office and being elected, and serving, but simply running: the voters could write in whoever they want, right?

Also, legally, is there a cut-off point for the severity of the offense for running?

I don’t think there’s anything in the Constitution preventing it. I’m pretty sure this has been tested already for congressional seats with Ted Stevens, and that guy from Ohio(?).

Eugene Debs ran a campaign from Prison in 1920

Wow. The prison candidate was something I thought was only a hyperbolic fantasy, and I originally had that in OP!

I figured that actually sitting in prison prevents you from “faithfully carrying out the duties…” etc. So it’s up the Supremes, or the Chief Justice at the swearing-in (in absentia?) to say “nope, not gonna do it”?

At the federal level, there is no bar. States vary and some states prohibit felons from running for certain elected offices (Texas and Illinois for example). Which state are you curious about?

US President. And other federal (Congress, etc.) and states as appropriate or interesting in relation.

ETA: “Federal” of course includes Cabinet members, regulators. Also Federal judges, but even hyperbole has to leave them out.

US President isn’t one thing. There are 51 elections and 51 sets of ballot access laws. The only federal requirements are in the constitution and you know those already: 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and not term-limited.

There is no federal impediment to felons serving in Congress, but several states (as pointed out above) do not allow felons ballot access. The Senate is unlikely to approve a felon for a Cabinet post, but they could if they wanted to.

The only requirements to be President are that you’re 35 years old (or will be as of when you would assume office), you’ve lived for 14 years in the US, you’re a natural-born citizen, you can’t have previously taken an oath to the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection or rebellion, and you can’t have already been elected President twice or elected once and served more than two years of a term to which you succeeded.

Oh, and of course the biggest one: You have to actually get elected.

No other restriction on eligibility for the Presidency would be Constitutional, unless it were enacted via amendment to the Constitution.

:smack: Just thought of a well-known (even to me) expression: “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But wait…A President can be tried and convicted of cannibalism by the Congress, but he’s President unless he’s impeached and removed…but President Clinton was impeached, and stayed in office…I’m confused.

the high crimes and misdemeanors are impeachable if committed while in office, not before.

I’m not understanding your second point. Impeachment is the accusation, then a “trial” by the Senate to decide if he or she gets removed from office.

Prison campaigns for President are not a fantasy. I remember Lyndon LaRouche running for President almost every election cycle from prison.

President Clinton was impeached (accused) but acquitted at his trial in the Senate.

Impeachment is roughly equivalent to indictment – the Articles of Impeachment are a listing of what high crimes and misdemeanors the impeached official allegedly committed. Then comes a trial before the Senate, which declined to find Bill guilty of the alleged offenses.

To OP: Matthew Lyon of Vermont was in prison for sedition at the time he ran for reelection to Congress in 1798; he won, and served several additional terms.

He was acquitted of the crime. Had he been convicted, would/could he continue to serve until some other Congressional act was completed to get him out of there?

If not, it would mean being convicted of a high crime or misdemeanor in office gets you insta-booted, but coming in with one not even having completed a criminal sentence lets you stay?

Certain crimes prevent holding office such as Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. 18 U.S. Code § 2071
This implies that if you didn’t break such a law you would still be able to hold office.

An impeachment conviction would remove him from office. Prior criminal acts are irrelevant.

I don’t know what the framers were considering, but if you allowed a criminal conviction to prevent someone from running for office you’re giving a lot of incentive to officeholders to abuse their power to keep political enemies from running in the first place. We have a democratic system where the people decide who they want to represent them.

Eligibility for office, no. But eligibility for ballot access, yes.

To be clear, although the Impeachment Clause uses the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one. If a federal official is impeached and convicted in a Senate trial, then the Senate has to decide upon a punishment. That can range from censure to removal from office. But that’s it - the Senate can’t throw you in jail or fine you or anything like that - that’s for the criminal courts to deal with.

As above, impeachment offenses and criminal offenses are separate things and not really comparable. And removal from office isn’t a given;

Another example, the Mayor of Boston (Curley) was put in jail for five months.

Sitting in a wheelchair didn’t prevent Roosevelt from faithfully carrying out the duties. As long as the president can communicate with his people,they in effect carry out his executive orders.

Maybe he’d be eligible for work-release. If the chief justice is unable to serve in any capacity for any reason, there is certainly a provision for his duties to be carried out by a pro-tem stand-in.

In some states, a convict serving time retains the right to vote with an absentee ballot (Vermont, I think). There are no federal provisions denying rights to incarcerated citizens, but states can and do.