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Had Objected to $672 Cost on Principle : Hedgecock to Pay for Probation Study

Times Staff Writer

After standing for months on principle against paying for a probation report that he claims did him no good at all, Roger Hedgecock has agreed to fork over $672 for the study, saving the former San Diego mayor a return court appearance today before the judge who sentenced him to one year in local custody.

Hedgecock had protested the charges, saying he and his attorney, Oscar Goodman, had not even had a chance to look at the report when San Diego County Superior Court Judge William L. Todd Jr. stunned a packed courtroom and announced he would sentence Hedgecock immediately after a hearing on jury-tampering allegations Dec. 10.

Todd sentenced Hedgecock to a year in local custody followed by three years’ probation, overriding the recommendation of an Orange County probation officer that the former mayor spend six months in a work-furlough center. Hedgecock is appealing his conviction on perjury and conspiracy charges.

Technically, the bill for the probation report has never been due. Prosecutors neglected to request an order requiring Hedgecock to pay the cost of conducting the pre-sentence investigation. But after Hedgecock objected to the charges, Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles Wickersham said he would ask Todd to hold a hearing and order Hedgecock to pay.

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The hearing was scheduled for today. But last week, Hedgecock’s appellate lawyer, Charles Sevilla, wrote Todd saying the former mayor would follow any order requiring him to pay the fees, although “he had desired to object as a matter of principle.”

Sevilla said he had assured Hedgecock that paying the fee would not undermine his appeal, which will cite the surprisingly swift sentencing as one of the reasons Hedgecock’s conviction should be overturned.

“I hope this letter straightens the matter out,” Sevilla said in the note. “I’m sure we’re all busy enough as it is.”

Wickersham said Monday that he assumed the matter was, indeed, straightened out. “I’m not trying to stir anything up,” said the prosecutor, a candidate this fall for an opening on the Superior Court bench. “I’m not accusing him of owing any money.”

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