I was struck by two things in your article covering the conviction of State Sen. Roderick Wright of eight felonies involving perjury and fraud concerning the location of his residence: the apparent unevenness of handling these violations and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s comments.
Your article points out that whether or not violators are prosecuted is left to the discretion of local DAs. Thus local cronyism and party affiliations play a part in the process. Perhaps Ms. Jackson should introduce legislation assigning the primary investigatory and prosecution responsibilities to the California Attorney General’s Office to neutralize these local dynamics.
Sen. Jackson’s comments “I’m not condoning … but there are other members who do this as well, and the law frankly is a little unclear” hardly supports her earlier remarks characterizing Wright’s actions as “ … a betrayal of trust.” This “other kids get to do it” argument is out of place here. We’re not talking about staying up late on a school night — we’re talking about a felonious betrayal of our trust.
As far as the law being unclear — the jury didn’t seem to have any problem interpreting it. This law has been appealed many times, as Mr. Wright plans, and if truly unclear it would have been struck down for “vagueness” long ago.
Ms. Jackson’s comments also show she knows members who she believes are currently violating this law. As she is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I would think Ms. Jackson would feel duty-bound to report these members to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation.