Mayor Sheila Dixon post-conviction.

Time is running out on Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's City Hall tenure since her conviction on an embezzlement charge means she'll have to leave office. Dixon looked at her watch following her conviction. (Rob Carr / AP Photo )

By Frank James

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was convicted Tuesday by a jury on a single charge of taking gift cards intended for poor persons.

The conviction means Dixon, Baltimore's first woman mayor, is required to vacate her office. She would be temporarily replaced by City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

According to Article XI, Section 6 of Maryland's Constitution:

The Mayor shall, on a conviction in a Court of Law; of wilful neglect of duty, or misbehavior in office, be removed from office by the Governor of the State, and a successor shall thereafter be elected, as in case of vacancy.

Maryland's governor is Gov. Martin O'Malley who is a former Baltimore mayor himself.

Dixon was charged on five counts in the case against her. After deliberating for seven days, the jury asked Judge Dennis M. Sweeney on Tuesday if he would accept a partial verdict in the case, according to the Baltimore Sun website. Sweeney said he would.

As the Sun reported:

Several jurors nodded as Sweeney explained that the court can accept a partial verdict.
The jurors had signaled Monday that they were stymied on one or more charges against the mayor, before abruptly changing course and asking the judge to let them resume deliberations this morning. The flurry of activity, after six days of discussions and a four-day holiday break, gave no clear indication of where the jurors might be headed.

categories: National News

12:48 - December 1, 2009