“Not since the 1990s have so many state lawmakers been arrested in such a short amount of time,” remarks the LA Times this week. Five state lawmakers and one former senator, all campaigning for reelection, have been arrested in the last 20 months, giving them something more than just the “issues” to talk about and defend while seeking votes.
Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who faces eight different felony counts for voter fraud and perjury says, “There is nothing I can do about that. All I can do is present my record of what I plan to do next year, and people will either accept that or reject that.”
Most of the lawmakers, whether they have charges still pending or resolved, have maintained their position on committees and within the Legislature. Mary Hayashi, who pleaded no contest to shoplifting from Neiman Marcus, maintains her position as the chairwoman of the Assembly’s Business Committee. She will be out after this term due to term limits, but continues to campaign for others.
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), was only recently charged with drunk driving for an incident that took place on March 27 while driving a state vehicle. He has not entered a plea as of yet, but maintains his position of Assistant Majority Whip.
Lawmakers are not immune to the law. And when they are suspected of criminal activity, they too must deal with the consequences.
Like the police, many people believe lawmakers should be held to higher standards, that by representing the voting public they should keep their noses clean at all times, so to speak. But, they are human, and in the modern age, where so many things are against the law, the statistics are not in their favor—some of them will break the laws and a portion of them will get caught.
If having lawmakers with criminal records frightens some people, they should recognize that this particular problem will likely only get worse. Because we are the most incarcerated nation in the world, if we don’t change the system soon, we could have former inmates running for office soon.
It’s difficult to live down a criminal record, particularly if you don’t have the benefit of being a member of the social elite or upper crust of society. But more and more people are being forced to deal with a criminal record.
The best way to avoid such long term negative consequences is to avoid a conviction. We may be able to help.
If you are charged with a criminal offense in California, you need someone looking out for your best interests. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and what can be done to minimize its effect on your life.