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Judge: Supervisor Leticia Perez "discriminated against" in criminal case

Judge says Supervisor Perez targeted for political reasons in conflict of interest case
Posted at 9:39 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 00:39:51-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA — Supervisor Leticia Perez was "discriminated against", that according to newly filed court documents obtained by 23ABC Monday. In a 6-page ruling from Judge Thomas S. Clark, evidence is presented that appears to show previous District Attorney Lisa Green targeted Supervisor Leticia Perez for her support of a political foe in the weeks following a special election in June 2016.

Judge Clark writes "There is some evidence that District Attorney Lisa Green took some actions during the campaign with respect to employees of her office that would appear to be taken in retaliation for or as a reaction to apparent support given by those employees to the Zimmer campaign."

Supervisor Perez had publicly endorsed District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, who was running against then Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman.

Prosecutors alleged Perez stood to gain financially from a vote on whether or not to allow the legalization of marijuana in Kern County in October of 2017. Supervisors ultimately voted to make marijuana sales and cultivation in Kern County illegal. Criminal conflict of interest charges were filed against Perez on July 17th, 2018 "approximately 6-weeks of the election and approximately 3.5 weeks after the certification of the election in which Scott Spielman lost to his opponent," Judge Clark writes.

Judge Clark says in his ruling, Perez was discriminated against because a similar conflict of interest case against Bakersfield city councilmen Bob Smith was handled in a different way. Clark says the conflict of interest actions are "remarkably similar to the allegations against Defendant Perez."

Smith was only given administrative consequences and did not face criminal prosecution.

Judge Clark says the defendant has met her threshold requirement of "discriminatory effect" by citing to the case of Bob Smith," Clark wrote. "The timing of the filling of the criminal charges, very shortly after the ADA (Scott Spielman) learned that he had lost a close election and very shortly after the District Attorney learned that her favored candidate had lost a close and holy-contested election is a fact that can support the appearance of political factor in the charging decision," according to Judge Clark's ruling.

The prosecution has until August 16th to respond to the ruling presented by Judge Clark.