Handguns and shoplifting: Another week in the California Assembly
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) is scheduled to have her day in court Friday when a judge is expected to set a preliminary hearing on a felony grand-theft charge that she shoplifted at a Neiman Marcus store in San Francisco.
The lawmaker pleaded not guilty to the charge in October after prosecutors said she was caught on video surveillance leaving the department store with a shopping bag containing leather pants and other clothing worth $2,445 that she hadn't paid for. Hayahshi has called the incident a misunderstanding, saying she was talking on her cellphone, "got distracted, had a snack in the cafe" and left the store.
Returning to the Capitol on Wednesday for the opening of the new legislative year, Hayashi declined to address reporters.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the lawmaker could catch a break. The newspaper reported Wednesday that the judge overseeing the case, Gerardo Sandoval, may be prepared to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: A woman walks down Chicago's Michigan Avenue with a shopping bag from Neiman Marcus on March 9, 2011. Credit: Heather Charles / Chicago Tribune