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Roderick Wright arrives at jail but is released because of crowding

Former Democratic state Sen. Roderick D. Wright at his sentencing hearing in September. He arrived at the L.A. County jail intake center late Friday to begin serving a 90-day sentence but was released almost immediately because of jail crowding.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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Former Democratic state Sen. Roderick D. Wright arrived at the county jail intake center late Friday to begin serving a 90-day sentence but was released almost immediately because of jail crowding, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Wright earlier this year on eight felony counts, including perjury and voting fraud, in a case that centered on whether he had lied about living in the district he sought to represent.

Jurors agreed with prosecutors, who said that Wright had contrived to make it appear that he lived in a rental complex he owns in Inglewood so he could qualify to run for a state Senate seat in 2008. They found his true address to be a Baldwin Hills house outside the district.

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Wright, 62, has maintained his innocence, saying he believed he was following the law and had not intended to deceive voters.

On Sept. 12, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy denied his bid for a new trial. She sentenced him to 90 days in county jail and three years’ probation and ordered him to perform 1,500 hours of community service.

However, many jails in California are overcrowded, and many low-level offenders serve little or no time behind bars. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said Wright arrived at the inmate reception center about 9:40 p.m. Friday but was released soon after the paperwork was completed.

Shortly after his sentencing, Wright, who is barred from holding future public office, resigned his seat rather than face possible expulsion by his Senate colleagues.

Four Democrats and one Republican filed papers to run in a Dec. 9 special election to replace Wright in the heavily Democratic 35th Senate District. If no one wins a majority then, the top two vote-getters will compete in a Feb. 10 runoff.

jean.merl@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeanmerl


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