A judge delayed the sentencing on Wednesday of former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife for their voter fraud and perjury convictions.
Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli set the Alarcons’ next court date for Oct. 14, when Lomeli will hear motions asking for a new trial and, pending that decision, could hand down a sentence.
Alarcon and his wife Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon were convicted in July of a total of seven counts of voter fraud and perjury for lying about where they lived so Alarcon could run for a council seat, which he held until last year.
Convicted of four felonies, Alarcon faces a maximum of six years in state prison, and Montes de Oca Alarcon faces five years and four months. Prosecutors are asking the judge to sentence Alarcon to 180 days in county jail as well as 1,000 hours of community service, and Montes de Oca Alarcon to 500 hours of community service.
The Alarcons’ attorneys are asking for a new trial, calling the verdicts inconsistent. The jury delivered a split verdict, finding the Alarcons guilty of seven of a total of 21 charges against them.
“Legally proper and consistent verdicts should have been either guilty or not guilty on all counts, rather than a split decision,” defense attorney Mark Overland said in a motion for a new trial filed last month.
The case turned on how California law defines “residence” for voting purposes, using the word “domicile” -- a place where one intends to remain and return after an absence.
Defense attorneys said the couple weren’t always at their Council District 7 home in Panorama City because they were renovating, but that they planned to return. In that way, the home remained their domicile, regardless of how much time they spent away from it, defense attorneys said. Prosecutors argued the couple actually lived outside the district, in a larger house in Sun Valley.
In the motion, Overland said the jury’s split verdict, determining that the Alarcons were domiciled at their home at some times and not at others “could only have been the result of confusion.”
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