What was the California Supreme Court thinking?

In a piece about the Compton mayoral race, the Los Angeles Times skimmed over the fact that former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley, who was found guilty in 2004 of illegally spending thousands of taxpayers' dollars to pay for golf balls, cigars, and hotel movies, had recently been the beneficiary of a little-known, but jaw-dropping California Supreme Court decision.

The state supreme court ruled in 2011 that corrupt politicians need to know that they're breaking the law when misappropriating public funds or else they're not guilty. Bradley, the self-proclaimed “King of Compton,” then used that bizarre ruling to get himself off the hook in 2012.

Here's why that ruling is insane.

Now every corrupt politician in California is going to play the “I didn't know” angle, citing total ignorance that buying golf balls on the taxpayers' dime may actually be illegal.

That's exactly what happened with Bradley, who said he was told by a city official that he could spend money on golf games since he was conducting city business.

Bradley shifted responsibility to someone else, and, in 2012, California Court of Appel Judge Madeleine Flier let him off the hook as a result of the California Supreme Court's decision.

Politicians have a good life, don't they?

Now that he's been vindicated, Bradley wants to be mayor again. Why? So he can hit more golf balls and smoke more cigars on the dime of working-class black and Latino families in Compton?

“I don't have a hair on my head,” Bradely told the Times. “I don't have a dollar in my pocket, but I do have a better understanding.”

Yeah, of how to get around the law and let other people pay for the tab.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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