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On website, Nowlin admits to felony conviction

Candidate says he pled guilty to burglary 'half my life ago'

Posted: August 7, 2012 - 12:02am
Paul Nowlin, office manager for Petro Marine, is running for District 1 Assembly seat currently held by David Stone.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Paul Nowlin, office manager for Petro Marine, is running for District 1 Assembly seat currently held by David Stone.

On a candidate for office’s campaign website, there is some information one can typically expect to see: a brief biography, the candidate’s main priorities or issues, and perhaps some information about how to help with the campaign.

Paul Nowlin’s website has all that. But the candidate for a District 1 seat on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly also devotes some Web space to a more unexpected story — his explanation of how he came to plead guilty to a felony when he was a young adult living in Moses Lake, Wash.

“I just wanted to be open and honest about it,” Nowlin said. “I just figured, put the worst thing out there.”

According to the account on Nowlin’s campaign website, while Nowlin was at work, he became involved in an altercation with his boss, who “started shoving me and telling me I was fired,” and it escalated into a fist fight.

Nowlin was then charged with burglary for the combination of trespassing, by virtue of remaining on the premises after being fired, and “doing bodily harm to somebody,” he wrote.

Nowlin wrote that he pled guilty on the advice of his public defender, whom he claimed did not allow the other person in the fight to testify in his defense and admit fault. He said he spent a week and a half behind bars and completed his probation in less than three years.

“I kind of feel like I got a raw deal,” said Nowlin. “It’s not something I’m really embarrassed about. … I was young and dumb and my public defender got paid the same whether we went to court or not.”

Nowlin added, “I don’t want (the campaign) to be about that. I want it to be about issues in Juneau, not about my personal history. … I kind of hope people have made their own mistakes when they were young and can kind of relate to it.”

Nowlin’s only certified opponent thus far, Loren Jones, said the matter “wouldn’t have any effect from my viewpoint.”

“I haven’t seen the website,” Jones added. “It’s not going to affect how I’m going to campaign at all.”

Nowlin’s campaign website is located at vote-4-paul-nowlin.com. Jones has his own campaign website at lorenjonesforassembly.com.

A call to the government of Grant County, where Moses Lake is located, requesting court records went unreturned Monday.

An online case summary gives the date an arrest warrant was issued as Oct. 29, 1996, when Nowlin would have been 19 years old. The same summary states Nowlin was sentenced on Feb. 3, 1997.

Nowlin said he has already made sure his felony conviction does not disqualify him from seeking office in Juneau.

“I did look heavily into that before running,” Nowlin said.

City Clerk Laurie Sica said Nowlin is, as a qualified voter who has lived in Juneau for more than a year, permitted to seek office. She added via email, “He has submitted all the required paperwork for office and was certified as a candidate for Assembly District 1 today.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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