Scales of Justice

Friday, May 10, 2013 – 09:00 a.m.

In a strange turn of events, state prosecutors now say it’s no longer necessary for the California Supreme Court to throw out two long standing case law precedents, and more than a dozen underlying appellate opinions, in order to reinstate key bribery and conflict of interest charges against defendants in the well-publicized case involving the 2006 Colonies Settlement.

The new spin, one of many executed by prosecutors during the appeals process, comes in the final reply brief filed by the California Attorney General on Tuesday. State prosecutors along with the San Bernardino County District Attorney are scrambling to have bribery and conflict of interest charges reinstated against Rancho Cucamonga Developer Jeff Burum and Former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin.

In October, the Riverside-based Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, upheld the dismissal of core charges to a 2011 grand jury indictment.

Burum, Erwin along with co-defendants, Former County Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt have all adamantly denied any wrongdoing. At issue in the case is the assertion by the defendants that prosecutors, after spending years trying to find credible evidence of misconduct, knowingly fabricated an illegal charging scheme to engineer a 29-count criminal indictment. So far, both the San Bernardino County Superior Court and California Court of Appeal have agreed with that premise.

The  defendants, who last appeared in court January 2012, are awaiting the chance to file dismissal motions before the trial judge.

The case now awaits oral argument before the high court’s seven justices, which is expected to occur sometime in late summer.

To read the People’s Reply Brief, click here: People’s Reply Brief On The Merits