In recent news reports, police chief of the Port of Los Angeles, Ronald Jerome Boyd, has been charged with corruption arising from an alleged bribery scheme. Boyd was indicted by a federal grand jury on 16 counts of corruption, lying to FBI agents, tax evasion and failure to file federal corporate tax returns. The charges stem from a project called PortWatch, a social networking program that would provide the public with information to allow them to report crimes. From this program Boyd made a deal to share revenues with another company in return for helping the company obtain the contract to develop PortWatch, according to prosecutors. If convicted on all counts he faces a maximum of 124 years in federal prison.
Various acts by elected and appointed government officials or government employees may be prosecuted as public corruption, however acts of public corruption typically involve bribery, abuses of power, or misappropriation of funds. Public corruption may occur in any branch and at all levels of government, from local police departments and city commissions to federal agencies. The purpose of public corruption laws are to ensure that government is run fairly and that taxpayer’ funds are not misused. There are federal and state statutes that govern bribery and corruption by government officials.
Bribery and Corruption in California
The California Penal Code criminalizes bribery and corruption in section 92 and 93. Section 93 address corruption and bribery by judicial officers while section 92 addresses those who bribe judicial officers. Corruption and bribery is defined as every judicial officer . . . who asks, receives or agrees to receive any bribe, upon any agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion or decision upon any matters or question which is or may be brought before him or her for decision, is influenced thereby.
A conviction for corruption or bribery is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3, or 4 years. In cases where no bribe was received the court may order a restitution fine of at least $2,000 but not more than $10,000. In cases where a bribe was received, a conviction carries a restitution fine of at least the amount of the bribe received or $10,000, whichever is greater.
The Code criminalizes actions by those who bribe judicial officials. It states that every person who gives or offers to give a bribe to a judicial officer with intent to influence his vote, opinion or decision upon any matter or question which is or may be brought before him for decision, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3 or 4 years.
If your or someone you know has been charged with a bribery or corruption charge it is important to hire an experienced attorney who knows the law and the court system. An experienced attorney can successfully challenge the prosecution to its burden of proving each element of the crime charge. The Rodriguez Law Group can help with your case. Beyond experience, Attorney Rodriguez brings a strong team to your defense. As a former prosecutor for 13 years, he knows the criminal justice system and has a proven track record. Please call our office today to discuss your legal matter.