Delaware Ag Says Ex-Police Chief Not Fit For Pubic Office

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The Delaware attorney general’s office has asked a judge to prevent a former police chief who was convicted of official misconduct from taking office as a town commissioner.

Authorities said in Wednesday’s Superior Court filing that they are seeking to nullify last week’s election of former Newport police chief Michael Capriglione as a Newport town commissioner. Capriglione was elected on April 5 to a two-year term by receiving 32 votes in a town with roughly 1,000 residents. He is scheduled to take the oath of office Thursday evening.

Attorney General Kathleen Jennings asked the court to declare that Capriglione is ineligible to hold office, to prevent him from being sworn in or taking office until the court rules on the writ filed Wednesday, and to remove him from office if he is sworn in.

Robert McDonald, an attorney for Capriglione, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Jennings claims that Capriglione is ineligible to hold public office because of his prior conviction, which she contends qualifies as an “infamous crime” under the Delaware constitution.

“Official misconduct, despite being a misdemeanor, is the crime that ought to prevent one from holding public office,” the court filing states. “To be found guilty of official misconduct is to abuse the power the public places in its officials.”

Capriglione was sentenced to probation and ordered to surrender his police certification in 2019 after crashing his car into another vehicle in the police department parking lot and trying to cover it up.

Authorities said he lied to other officers about how the other car was damaged and ordered the destruction of video footage that captured the 2018 incident. The footage was recovered, however, by state police computer technicians.

Capriglione was charged with inattentive driving, failing to report the incident, official misconduct and tampering with physical evidence, a felony. He pleaded guilty to careless driving and official misconduct.

“That such a criminal act was committed by a town’s chief law enforcement officer only amplifies the degree to which Capriglione flunks our state’s character test for public officeholders,” the court filing states.