Who is likely to benefit from a new trial of Mayor Roger Hedgecock, and what makes prosecutors Edwin Miller and Richard Huffman so sure that the next time around they can win a "guilty" verdict against the mayor? In this connection some of the reasoning employed concerning the supposed stubborness of juror Leon Crowder is somewhat unusual, to say the least.
Is he to be condemned because he chose to act independently of the other jurors and just because he was not convinced of the mayor's guilt? Is it not just as easily possible that the other 11 jurors, or at least a considerable number of them, had made up their minds beforehand, and decided that Hedgecock was guilty?
Are the deliberations of the jury meant to be carried to the point where the majority must convince the minority to go along with their opinion?
Some jurors mentioned lack of "cooperation" on Crowder's part. One might wonder what their expectation was. Was it that each of them had to fall into line?
It may also be useful to remember that we have created a climate over the past years that encourages violation of the campaign laws. Neither the city attorney nor the dictrict attorney has made any attempt to halt the violations. There are so many instances where principals of firms, primarily developers, and their employees have contributed to the same candidates, and that certainly is not a coincidence. In the case of Maureen O'Connor, the district attorney has declined to investigate, because the Fair Political Practices Commission was doing so.
The FPPC had acknowledged that O'Connor has violated the campaign reporting laws, but it considered the violations "minor" and declined to prosecute. This kind of selectivity must create doubts in the jurors' minds.
Considering all this, what are the chances that the district attorney will get a conviction the next time around? Not terribly good, it would seem.
The hung jury really was no great surprise, and this could easily happen again. In the meantime the City of San Diego will suffer, and much of its business will be on hold. For this we can thank the intransigence of the district attorney who appears determined to have his way, regardless of the cost to the city.
It would be preferable if the district attorney's office would devote itself to pursuing fraudulent schemes and embezzlers, so that Mayor Hedgecock can go back to doing what he is best at doing, namely run this city!
As far as the City Council members speculating on the future is concerned, I cannot but second Councilman William Jones' recommendation: "We have an elected mayor, who is a warm body in a warm seat, and we should treat him as such."
Let's end the uncertainty and all the speculation, and let's get on with the business of this city!