Suspended Williston City Council member seeking re-election
The 20-year-old is facing charges of lewd and lascivious conduct.
Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 12:16 a.m.
The suspended Williston City Council member is running for a council seat again.
Justin Landon, 20, was arrested in October and charged with 20 felonies involving a 15-year-old girl. He was subsequently suspended from his council seat by Gov. Jeb Bush.
The suspension applies only to the current term of office and does not prevent Landon from running for the $200-a-month office again, according to the governor's staff.
Now free on $50,000 bond, Landon has announced his candidacy for the city's March 1 election.
He said he knew he would be facing lots of questions from voters about his pending criminal case.
"My personal life is not my elected life," Landon said. "Even if these charges were not (pending), I would be up for re-election now and I would be running anyway."
Landon was charged with 18 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and one charge each of interference with parental custody and exposing a minor to pornography. An injunction has also been issued ordering Landon to stay away from the alleged victim.
Assistant Public Defender Jack Nugent said Landon's next court date is Wednesday and a trial date could be set then.
"I am confident the criminal allegations will be resolved in a satisfactory manner," Nugent said.
An unknown factor is how the Governor's Office would react if Landon won the election, specifically whether Landon would be suspended again if he were re-elected and the criminal case against him had not been resolved.
"It's too early to speculate on that," said Jennifer Grice, a Bush spokeswoman. "It's too far in advance to make a comment and we don't know how the (criminal) case will be decided."
Landon's election to the council when he was 18 years of age drew statewide attention because he was teenager, black and a Republican.
A little more than a year ago, Landon was even invited to the Governor's Mansion for a Christmas party.
"A lot has changed since I was first elected. I was a naive 18-year-old," Landon said. "I have learned a lot since then and I will go on with my life - win, lose or draw in the election."
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