Calif. lawmaker gets probation in shoplift case

Jan 7, 2012, 8:42 AM

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A judge sentenced a California lawmaker to three years of probation after she pleaded no contest to stealing leather pants and other merchandise, thefts that her attorney blamed on a benign brain tumor.

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi was arrested on Oct. 23 after surveillance cameras at a Neiman Marcus store at Union Square showed her walking out the doors with unpaid merchandise in her shopping bag. She was accused of stealing nearly $2,500 worth of clothing.

She entered the plea in San Francisco Superior Court Friday after the judge reduced a theft charge against her from a felony to a misdemeanor at a prosecutor’s request.

In addition to probation, Judge Gerardo Sandoval ordered her to pay $180 in fines and court costs, and told her to stay at least 50 feet away from the Neiman Marcus store.

Shortly after her arrest, a spokesman for Hayashi had explained that she was distracted by a cellphone call and forgot to pay for the merchandise.

Hayashi declined to speak to reporters after Friday’s court hearing, but her attorney, Douglas Rappaport, said Hayashi was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that contributed to the shoplifting incident.

“Now that Ms. Hayashi’s medical condition resulting in her arrest has been taken care of, she decided that she would resolve the case as well,” Rappaport said.

“It is being treated,” he added. “It’s no longer affecting her concentration or her judgment.”

Ross Warren, a spokesman for Hayashi, said Friday the Democratic lawmaker “acknowledges that she did accidentally walk out of the building with unpaid merchandise.”

“She admitted that she made a mistake, and today she is accepting the consequences of that mistake,” said Warren, adding that her condition “can lead to some absentmindedness.”

Hayashi has no plans to resign from office, Warren said.

If she had been convicted of a felony, Hayashi would have lost her pay but not necessarily her job in the Legislature.

Assembly rules do not say what happens if a lawmaker is convicted of a misdemeanor.

Hayashi, 44, who is married to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, has represented Castro Valley since 2006 but can’t run for re-election because she is termed out of office after this year.

Prosecutors said they agreed to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor because Hayashi was willing to enter the no-contest plea and had no prior criminal record.

“Her condition never factored into our decision,” said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Speaking at a news conference before the court hearing, District Attorney George Gascon said his office would accept the judge’s decision.

“She is a first-time offender. She has no criminal record. So while what she did is inexcusable and she needs to be held accountable for her actions, I think it’s appropriate to examine and explore all the different possibilities,” Gascon said.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said Friday that he’s confident Hayashi will “continue to ably serve her constituents.”

“While she made a serious mistake, she has owned up to her actions and taken responsibility for them,” Perez said in a statement.

Barbara O’Connor, a communications professor at California State University, Sacramento, said Hayashi’s conviction is another example of bad behavior by politicians whose public standing has plummeted.

“It doesn’t make people feel better about their elected officials,” she said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

An Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck is seen beyond a corn field Monday, June...
Associated Press

Lawsuits filed days after deadly Missouri Amtrak crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The first lawsuits have been filed only days after an Amtrak train collision and derailment in rural Missouri that left four people dead and injured up to 150 others. Amtrak and BNSF Railway Co. filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the concrete contracting company that owns the dump truck hit […]
7 hours ago
FILE - A Parsi man walks next to a bas-relief depicting early Zoroastrians at a Parsi colony on Now...
Associated Press

Zoroastrians confront depletion of their ancient faith

NEW YORK (AP) — Among the world’s present-day religions, Zoroastrianism, founded more than 3,000 years ago, is one of the most ancient and historically influential. Yet even though its adherents maintain vibrant communities on four continents, they acknowledge their numbers are dauntingly small — perhaps 125,000 worldwide. Starting Friday, about 1,200 attendees from 16 countries […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Chicago shooting during dispute leaves 2 dead, 3 wounded

CHICAGO (AP) — A person opened fire during a verbal dispute early Friday in downtown Chicago, killing two men and wounding three other people, police said. The five who were shot were leaving a business about 1:45 a.m. when the person they were in a dispute with opened fire with a handgun, police said in […]
7 hours ago
Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban government, speaks during a press conference in Ka...
Associated Press

Taliban supreme leader prays for Afghanistan’s quake victims

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban’s supreme leader offered prayers Friday for Afghanistan’s earthquake victims during a speech to Islamic clerics in Kabul. The tremor in June killed more than 1,000 people in the eastern part of the country. State radio aired Haibatullah Akhundzada’s speech live Friday from the gathering in Kabul, where thousands of Islamic […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s media watchdog has banned access to the Turkish services of U.S. public service broadcaster Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, prompting criticism of censorship. The Supreme Board of Radio and Television enforced a February decision requiring international media that air television content in Turkish online to apply for a […]
7 hours ago
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, Monday, June 20, 2022. Summer trave...
Associated Press

After two pandemic years, a summer travel bounce — and chaos

JERUSALEM (AP) — At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, Thailand’s prime minister looked out at attendees and posed a question with a predictable answer. “Are you ready?” Prayuth Chan-ocha asked, dramatically removing his mask and launching what’s hoped to be the country’s economic reset after more than two years of coronavirus-driven restrictions. When […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Calif. lawmaker gets probation in shoplift case