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Former Compton mayor's corruption conviction overturned

August 2, 2012 |  7:35 am

Omar Bradley
A California appeals court on Wednesday overturned the 2004 felony corruption conviction of former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley.

Bradley was convicted of misappropriation of public funds along with former City Councilman Amen Rahh and former City Manager John D. Johnson. Prosecutors said the men had used their city-issued credit cards for personal items and "double dipped" by taking cash advances for city business expenses but then  charging the items to their city credit cards.

Bradley was accused of misusing about $7,500, for items including golf balls and shoes, divot repair tools, a three-day stay in a penthouse hotel room and in-room movies.

Two other defendants, former Councilwomen Delores Zurita and current Councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux were acquitted of lesser charges in the case.

Bradley appealed the conviction for years without success, but a California Supreme Court decision last year gave him a new argument. In that case, involving an official in Sutter County, the court determined that an official must know or be criminally negligent in not knowing that an action is illegal in order to be guilty of misappropriation of funds.

ased on that case, the appeals court reversed its previous decision in Bradley's case and overturned his conviction. The convictions of the other two defendants remain in place.

The Stark case also played a key role in the trial of two former Lynwood council members who were convicted Tuesday of misappropriating public funds after a monthlong trial. The attorneys for Fernando Pedroza and Louis Byrd argued that the men relied on city managers and city attorneys, who never alerted them that there might be a problem with their compensation.

But the jury was swayed by the prosecutors, who argued that the council members knew what they were doing and deliberately scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the poor community in the form of illegal salaries and other payments.


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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley photographed at his trial in 2004. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times