California Supreme Court  justices

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 12/20/13, 1:46 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDIN0 >> The California Supreme Court is set to release its opinion on San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case at 10 a.m. on Monday, according to the court’s website.

The issue in question: Can an individual accused of giving or offering a bribe also be charged with aiding and abetting the receipt of a bribe?

The high court’s decision will have a major impact on the trajectory of the sweeping county corruption scandal involving the county’s $102 million legal settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum’s investor group, Colonies Partners LP, in November 2006.

State and local prosecutors allege the landmark legal settlement was tainted by bribery, extortion and blackmail.

Burum and three former San Bernardino County officials — former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former Assistant Assessor and union president Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for county Supervisor Gary Ovitt, were indicted in May 2011 and charged with multiple felonies including bribery, criminal conspiracy and tax evasion, among other crimes.

But a San Bernardino Superior Court judge dismissed five of the seven felony charges against Burum, including all four bribery counts, three months after the indictment. Judge Brian McCarville also dismissed one felony count of misappropriation of public funds for each of the other three defendants.

McCarville initially ruled that a person accused of giving bribes, as Burum was in the overt acts listed in the indictment, could not also be charged with aiding and abetting the receipt of bribes, for which Burum was charged,

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