Governor moves toward pardon of former state Sen. Wright
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the California Supreme Court to consider whether he should pardon former Sen. Roderick Wright, a Los Angeles-area Democrat who was found guilty four years ago of perjury and voter fraud. The state’s high court will not take a position on whether Brown should grant clemency, instead the justices will determine whether there is sufficient support for it should the governor decide to pardon Wright. The California Board of Parole Hearings recommended last month that Wright be pardoned.
Wright was convicted in 2014 of perjury and voter fraud after prosecutors said he lied about living in the Senate district he ran for in 2008. He served an hour in jail and 2½ years of probation for that sentence. Wright was barred from running for office because of the felony convictions. Last month, Brown signed a bill that changes residency rules for the 120 Senate lawmakers and Assembly. in the SB1250 to live outside allows their lawmakers district and instead relies on their voter registration address for determining whether they are eligible for certain offices. Had the bill been in place at the time Wright was in office, he would not have run afoul of the law. “Sen. Wright has devoted much of his life to public service, including serving six years in the California State Senate and six years in the California Assembly,” wrote attorney Peter Krause on Brown’s behalf
Wright returned to the Capitol this year as a lobbyist. The California Constitution requires the governor to get approval from a majority of the state Supreme Court — four of the six current justices — to grant a pardon. In March, the court adopted a new policy that signaled it would largely defer to the governor’s decisions. In reviewing such requests, the justices said, they would limit themselves to determine judicial to whether a function: “traditional the applicant’s claim has sufficient support that an act of executive clemency, should the governor choose to grant it, would not represent an abuse of that power.” Chronicle staff writer Bob Egelko contributed to this report.
Melody Gutierrez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MelodyGutierrez