Assemblywoman pleads no contest to shoplifting; lawyer cites brain tumor
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A California legislator on Friday pleaded no contest to charges that she tried to shoplift $2,500 in clothes from the Nieman Marcus in San Francisco.
As part of a plea deal, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge reduced the charges against Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) from felony grand theft to a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to three years’ probation and $180 in fines and required to stay at least 50 feet from the store on Union Square where the offense occurred.
‘This is a person who didn’t have any previous arrests, no convictions, no criminal history and she also admitted guilt at a very early stage,’ said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco district attorney’s office.
Outside the courthouse, Hayashi’s attorney, Douglas Rappaport, told reporters that she is under medication for a benign brain tumor and that that ailment may be responsible for her behavior.
Hayashi was arrested on Oct. 25 leaving the store with a white blouse, black skirt and leather pants in a shopping bag.
At the time, her office said she had meant to pay for the items but was distracted.
Hayashi, who was elected in 2006 and will be forced from office this year by term limits, is married to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi. She chairs the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection.
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-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento