8 Examples Of Malfeasance In Office
If you want to know some surprising examples of malfeasance in office, this post will give you 8 of them. Malfeasance in office is often hard to define. However, these examples should give you clear cut ideas of what the phrase actually means.
Public Employees Have A Moral And Ethical Responsibility
Due to the very nature of public service, citizens expect those who fill public jobs to act in an ethical manner. College classes, businesses, and government jobs have stressed the importance, over the last few decades, of ethics. This campaign to eradicate corruption has been effective to a degree in the public service realm.
Still, there are instances when those who work for the citizens of their local or state government in Louisiana have violated these ethics. For that reason, laws are in place, such as malfeasance in office that state it is a crime to use a public position in a way that suppresses others or benefits the public servant.
Malfeasance in office is a state law in Louisiana, so whether the public servant works in Shreveport or New Orleans, a suspected violation of the crime results in a felony charge. In the remainder of this article, we will discuss this law further and provide examples of what is considered malfeasance in office.
Examples of Malfeasance in Office
Example 1: Tampering with Evidence
While tampering with evidence is a crime in itself, a public servant can also be charged with malfeasance in office if they participated in this type of crime. An example of this is in the event a peace officer created evidence that was not genuine against another human. Another example would be if an employee of a public child protective agency destroyed evidence against someone harming a child. Both of these instances would violate the state’s malfeasance in office laws.
Example 2: Excessive Use of Force
Peace officers have rules that must be followed when dealing with the public. There are times when force can be used to control an individual while detaining or placing them under arrest for the officer and the public’s safety. These rules state how much force can be used. If a citizen resists or danger is present, an increase in the use of force can increase. The problem comes when excessive force is used by a peace officer where it is not warranted. When this happens, the officer could be charged with malfeasance in office.
Example 3: Using A Position To Intimidate Others
Our next example of malfeasance in office occurs when someone in a public office uses their position to intimidate someone else. A judge who uses his power to threaten or have a neighbor arrested for revenge or to make them comply with their wishes would be a violation of malfeasance in office.
Example 4: Using a Public Office to Have Sex
An extreme case of malfeasance in office happens when someone uses their position to force someone to have sexual intercourse with them. A case in point is if a probation officer for a parish used the threat of jail over a probationer’s head to force their consent to have intercourse. Although other charges could also occur, the law of malfeasance in office would be used to have the probation officer’s position terminated.
Example 5: Using Political Position for Monetary Gain
This type of ethics violation is one of the oldest known on record and is one of the reasons society has malfeasance in office laws. Elected officials have the common responsibility of issuing contracts to companies and individuals on behalf of the parish or state they serve. A crime is committed when one of these public officials takes a bribe to issue one of these contracts.
Example 6: Refusing to Perform the Responsibilities of a Position
When someone is a public official, they are hired or elected to perform certain functions and responsibilities that are needed for the betterment of the public. When one of these officials does not carry out these much-needed functions, they are violating their duty.
A public official who does not maintain their responsibilities can be found in violation of malfeasance in office and removed. For example, if a lawful order was given to a state employee to pull a liquor license from an establishment due to a violation and the employee did not because the owner of the license is a friend. This also applies when a public official allows someone who works under them not to perform their duties or lawful orders.
Example 7: Using Public Property for Personal Benefit
Public employees are sometimes given cars and other items to be able and do their job more effectively. When one of these persons uses equipment or an expense account for their personal benefit, they can violate the malfeasance in office laws. An example is if a public official used a vehicle assigned for them to do their job functions to take a vacation trip to Florida with the family. Or, within the same line of thought, used a public gas card to purchase gas for the same vacation. These will trigger the malfeasance in office law in place, and the official may find themselves charged with a crime and removed from office.
Another similar situation is if a public official was caught and charged with a DWI while operating a publicly owned and assigned car.
Example 8: Using a Public Position to Enforce Personal Interests
This example of malfeasance in office is when a public official uses their power of position to enforce something that is not their responsibility. Ordering a house torn down due to being an eyesore without a legal order just because the official did not like it is one example. Those who issue orders without the lawful ability to do so will be considered to be in violation.
The criminal punishment for malfeasance in office in Louisiana is up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Removal from the job position is also a consequence of being charged with this crime.
If you find yourself as a public employee charged with this abuse of power, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney to represent your case. An experienced and local attorney who understands how to defend a charge of malfeasance in office is your best option for both keeping your job and staying away from a conviction.