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Preliminary Hearing Today for Ex-Assessor Webster Guillory’s Felony Case

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 7, 2015

guilloryOrange County Assessor Webster Guillory left office on Monday when Claude Parrish was sworn in to replace him after Parrish defeated Guillory 53%-47% in the November elections.  Today, the preliminary hearing in Guillory’s felony case will begin. with Judge Elizabeth Macias determining if there is probable cause that Guillory committed the offenses he is charged with in order to decide whether or not the case will be allowed to proceed to trial.

In September, the District Attorney charged then-Assessor Guillory with three felony counts of filing false nomination papers when he filed for re-election as Assessor on March 7.  Specifically, the DA’s office stated:

Knowing that he had not personally collected the signatures or witnessed them being written, Guillory is accused of signing his name on two of the 10-signature petitions collected by his associate under the affidavit that reads, “I circulated the petition and witnessed the signatures on this section of the nomination paper being written.” He is accused of requesting another colleague to falsely sign the third petition.

He is charged with three counts of violating Elections Code Section 18203, which makes it crime for “Any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely…”  The DA notes that if Guillory is convicted, the sentence can range from probation to up to four years and four months in jail.

Guillory was originally arraigned on September 12 and plead not guilty on September 22.  He then lost his bid for re-election on November 4.  A pre-trial hearing was held on November 24, and of course, today is the preliminary hearing.

Judge Macias was appointed to the Superior Court in 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a Deputy Federal Public Defender for 13 years.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon.  Zimmon’s previous high-profile prosecutions include the computer-hacking tutor at Corona Del Mar High School, the drug charges against the rescued hiker in Trabuco Canyon, an illegal bail bonds solicitation case, the man who got his personal fluids into a co-worker’s water bottle, the Sheriff’s deputy who was drunk in court while on trial for injuring a 78-year-old woman while driving under the influence of prescription drugs, the Seal Beach jail employee who accepted bribes from inmates, and the Fullerton Police Officer who destroyed an audio recorder that had taped his interactions with a drunk-driving suspect who committed suicide.

Guillory’s defense attorney is John Barnett.  Barnett’s previous high-profile cases include Officer Manuel Ramos acquitted in the Kelly Thomas case, Officer Ted Briseno acquitted in the Rodney King case, Kyle Nachreiner (a Gregory Haidl co-defendant) convicted of sexual assault , Officer Jeremy Morse acquitted in Inglewood, Lisa Peng who plead guilty to manslaughter after two hung juries and a tossed conviction when she was charged with killing her husband’s mistress and the mistress’s infant son, a Marine Corporal acquitted after three trials for double murder at a coin shop, and a Newport Beach teacher acquitted of charges of molesting four students.

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