Judge Expunges Former Supervisor Derry’s Campaign Finance Reporting Conviction

(March 22) Four months after he was voted out of office in some measure on the strength of a misdemeanor conviction for failing to report a $5,000 campaign contribution in 2007, former county supervisor Neil Derry this week had the record of that conviction expunged upon the motion of his attorney, Rajan Maline.
San Bernardino Superior Court Judge J. David Mazurek granted the request under a provision of the California Penal Code, 1203.3, which provides for a criminal conviction to be “dismissed” upon the completion of probation. Maline sought early termination of his client’s probation, a request that was opposed by Deputy California Attorney General Stephanie Chow.
The state attorney general’s office handled Derry’s prosecution, which was initiated in April 2011 and based upon ground laid by investigators with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, who had interviewed former county assessor Bill Postmus as a part of a criminal investigation that ultimately led to Postmus pleading guilty to 14 felony counts. Postmus told investigators that he used his political action committee, Inland Empire PAC, to launder a $5,000 campaign contribution to Derry from Highland developer Arnold Stubblefield. Stubblefield had been reluctant to contribute directly to Derry in 2007 because at that point, Derry was not yet in office and was challenging the incumbent, Dennis Hansberger. Derry had reported the money as coming from the political action committee rather than Stubblefield and was initially charged with two felonies – filing a forged or false document and perjury – and with misdemeanor filing of a false campaign report. Four months later, Derry, through Maline, stuck a plea arrangement by which the felonies were dropped and he pleaded no contest to the campaign reporting violation.
That plea figured prominently in the campaign James Ramos waged against Derry last year and Derry lost in November after having served a single term as supervisor.
Despite Chow’s opposition, Mazurek ruled on March 20 “termination of probation pursuant to section 1203.3 PC is  granted and the defendant discharged. The conviction heretofore entered is set aside; a plea of not guilty is ordered entered and the case is dismissed pursuant to section 1203.4/1203.4a PC.”

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