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California Senate suspends Sen. Yee until criminal case ends

On top of facing serious criminal charges, which include bribery and having connections with an international weapons dealer, Senator Leland Yee received more bad news last month when the California Senate suspended him, along with two other senators, for pending criminal cases. Although the senator will still receive his annual salary, the suspension does take away his power of office, meaning he will not be allowed to vote on any legislative measures until his trial is complete.

Although Yee was released on bond recently, reports indicate that he may have a long and difficult trial ahead of him. In a post at the beginning of this month we mentioned the fact that the FBI accused Yee of accepting bribes as well as having connections with a weapons dealer. His arrest came as a result of a probe by federal investigators into allegations of corruption in San Francisco’s Chinatown district. Though his involvement in this corruption is only speculation at this time, he has already received rather severe judgment from his colleagues who have called the allegations “shocking.” Some have even said that they have lost confidence in the senator.

Though some of our San Diego readers may consider this to be the most recent slap in the face for the senator, things could have been worse.  According to a report last month in the Guardian, one member of the senate voted to have Yee and the other two senators expelled, despite no formal criminal convictions.  Some may agree that this would have been a far harsher punishment, especially considering the fact that criminal law in the United States considers every person innocent until proven guilty.  Per the California constitution, an expulsion or resignation from the senate bars a lawmaker from collecting pay, which would have been problematic for Yee who likely needs his salary to pay mounting legal fees.

Source: The Guardian, “Three Democratic California state senators suspended over criminal cases,” The Associated Press, March 28, 2014

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