Gover­nor moves to­ward par­don of for­mer state Sen. Wright

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BAY AREA - By Melody Gu­tier­rez

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: mgutier­rez@sfchron­i­cle.com. Twit­ter: @MelodyGu­tier­rez

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