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wright.jpgTwo days after a jury found him guilty of eight felonies related to living outside the district he represents, Sen. Rod Wright introduced a bill that would allow people convicted of non-violent felonies to have their crimes converted to misdemeanors.

Wright did not attend the Senate's floor session Thursday, but legislative records show that on that day he introduced Senate Bill 929, which would grant new benefits to non-violent felons who are not sentenced to prison.

The bill says that a felony offense would be deemed a misdemeanor "if the court finds that certain circumstances apply, including that the defendant was not imprisoned in the state prison for the offense, the offense for which the defendant was convicted was not a serious or violent felony, as defined, the offense does not require registration as a sex offender, the defendant is not currently charged with and has not been convicted of an offense in the preceding 5 years, except as specified, and the defendant presents clear and convincing evidence that he or she has been rehabilitated."

While Wright has lost his chairmanship of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, his Democratic colleagues have stopped short of asking him to leave office.

Yet it does not appear the felony-to-misdemeanor bill will advance. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the legislation will not be referred out of the Senate Rules Committee.

"Putting the merits of the policy aside, it's the wrong author at the wrong time," said spokesman Rhys Williams.

Wright's office has not returned a call for comment.

A Los Angeles jury on Tuesday found Wright guilty on all eight felony counts he was charged with in a case that challenged whether he lived in the Inglewood home he claimed as his domicile when he ran for office in 2008. Prosecutors alleged Wright really lived in Baldwin Hills, a tonier area outside the district he represents.

Wright's sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 12. His lawyer has said he plans to appeal the case.

SB 929

Editor's note: This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 31 to include comment from Steinberg's office and lack of comment from Wright's office.

PHOTO: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, walks into the California Senate floor during the first day of session Jan. 6, 2014 in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua/Sacramento.



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