Sen. Roderick Wright should resign from office now that he has been convicted and sentenced for fraudulently claiming that he lived in his district – then he should appeal his conviction.
I can’t say that he has legal grounds for an appeal on the facts of the case but common sense, often lost when laws are prosecuted, puts a huge asterisk next to Wright’s conviction.
Wright should resign because his constituents are ill-served by his suspension. There is no full time senator representing the people’s interests.
However, law is supposed to be meted out evenly. “Equal Protection Under the Law” is etched in stone above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court. (UPDATE as pointed out to us the phrase was entered in error, the correct phrase is “Equal Justice Under the Law.”
Yet, the question if legislators actually live in the districts they represent, as California law requires, does not appear to be applied evenly. Both Republicans and Democrats have been challenged to their true living places.
A Los Angeles Times article from last March pointed to a number of legislators who appear to reside in homes outside their districts. If Wright is punished for this crime shouldn’t at least charges be filed against other legislators so that juries can decide if they broke the law? Or, alternatively, should the law be revamped?
Wright might argue he is a victim of selective prosecution, which Black’s Law Dictionary says “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment if a defendant is singled out for prosecution when others similarly situated have not been prosecuted and the prosecutor’s reasons for doing so are impermissible.”
District attorneys and judges have different views on pursuing violators of the residency requirements. Would that inconsistency across the state qualify as “impermissible” in the above definition? Equal application of the law is certainly lost in such a hit and miss practice and the judicial system suffers for it.
One would think lawmakers would make an effort to see the law makes sense or those who enforce the law should make an effort to carry out the law consistently.
That is not the case when it comes to where legislators live. Something has to change.