Wright bill shifts some felonies to misdemeanors

Two days after he was convicted of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury, state Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, introduced legislation that would allow nonviolent felonies to be reclassified as misdemeanors in some cases.

The measure, SB 929, would allow a defendant to have a felony offense be deemed a misdemeanor if the felony was not “serious or violent,” did not involve a sex offense and if the defendant had not been convicted of another offense within the past five years, among other criteria.

Language in the bill appears to apply to Wright himself, including a passage that says “when a defendant is convicted of a felony offense, the offense shall, on application of the defendant, thereafter be be deemed a misdemeanor for all purposes…” The bill can be viewed here.

Wright, who was removed as head of the influential Senate Governmental Organization committee, which deals with alcohol, gambling and horse racing, remains in the Senate pending his appeal.

Wright, 61, who has served in the Senate since 2008, was convicted by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Tuesday of lying on registration and candidacy documents, and for living in a residence that was not within his district. California law requires state legislators to live within the boundaries of the districts they represent.

The charges against Wright, who was indicted by a Grand Jury in September 2010, dated from 2007.

He faces a maximum of eight years, four months in prison. Sentencing has been set for March 12. Wright’s attorney has announced he will appeal the verdict.

Another state senator, Ron Calderon of Montebello, was stripped of his committee assignments following the disclosure of a leaked FBI affidavit that depicted the lawmaker taking bribes to expedite legislation to aid a businessman, actually an FBI undercover officer.  Calderon has not been charged with any crimes.


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