If he’s elected to a seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors in March, embattled County Assessor Gus Kramer might have fun two victories.
Successful the seat would lead to fees in opposition to him of “willful or corrupt” misconduct and making a hostile work atmosphere being dropped, permitting Kramer to modify from one elected workplace to the opposite with out lacking a single authorities paycheck .
Superior Courtroom Decide John Cope made such an consequence potential final Friday when he granted a request by Kramer’s legal professional to postpone a trial on these fees to June 15, a full yr after the County Civil Grand Jury filed the accusations.
As a result of the aim of that trial is to take away Kramer from the assessor’s job if he’s discovered responsible, the explanation to carry it will be moot if he voluntarily vacates the workplace to take a seat on the board. Kramer is operating for the District 5 supervisor seat in opposition to longtime incumbent Federal Glover and fellow challenger Sean Trambley, a Martinez planning commissioner.
If a candidate will get greater than 50 % of the vote, he’ll win the seat outright; in any other case, the highest two vote-getters will face one another in November’s basic election.
As a result of the costs in opposition to Kramer aren’t being prosecuted as crimes, “there aren’t any different repercussions” for a responsible verdict apart from elimination from the assessor’s workplace, Deputy District Lawyer Chris Walpole acknowledged, noting the assessor isn’t dealing with any jail time.
Walpole is prosecuting Kramer over the grand jury’s accusation that he made “sexual” feedback a number of instances to feminine workers in his division from December 2013 by means of 2018 and uttered an ethnic slur to a employee.
The bizarre “quasi-criminal, quasi-civil” nature of the case — as Walpole known as it in Friday’s courtroom listening to — has sophisticated issues. Whereas the case is being prosecuted by the District Lawyer’s Workplace in a lot the identical means as a felony trial, the standard procedures are completely different as a result of they don’t contain jail time or any felony or misdemeanor convictions.
Kramer’s legal professional, Michael Rains, mentioned Friday he intends to file a movement to dismiss the case and in the meantime wants extra time to depose witnesses.
Walpole objected to the postponement, saying depositions “don’t make a lot sense” on this case. Depositions are generally taken earlier than civil trials however seldom for felony instances except approved by a decide.
Kramer’s case has stretched throughout a number of hearings because the accusations have been first filed final June. Each the District Lawyer’s Workplace and Rains initially filed motions to take away Contra Costa County prosecutors from the case and hand it over to the state Lawyer Basic’s workplace, however Superior Courtroom Decide Theresa Canepa denied them.
Canepa subsequently bowed out of the case, citing time constraints, and Charles “Ben” Burch briefly took over, overseeing a sequence of motions and scheduling the trial to start on Jan. 27.
However he famous late final yr the trial would go to a unique decide since he was taking a brand new project. When each side met for a standing convention on Jan. 10 in entrance of Decide Cope, Walpole and Rains mentioned they have been nonetheless awaiting some data subpoenaed from the Contra Costa County Counsel’s Workplace.
After listening to Rains’ push for extra time to conduct the depositions, Cope mentioned he couldn’t begin the trial himself till after mid-April as a result of different obligations.
Contra Costa District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, declined to weigh in on Kramer’s run for a board seat and the way he might escape the misconduct fees if triumphant however indicated the authorized course of has gone on too lengthy.
“I believe the general public curiosity is served by having a trial happen as quickly as potential, given how lengthy this has dragged out,” Gioia mentioned.
County supervisors requested the civil grand jury to research Kramer in 2018 after an investigator employed by the county decided he “extra seemingly than not” made feedback within the office of a sexual nature, which the affected workers discovered unwelcome and inappropriate. Kramer insists he was “exonerated” of sexual harassment by that report. He has lengthy insisted he’s been focused by disgruntled workers and the present Board of Supervisors.
Rains gave an impassioned speech in courtroom on Friday, noting he doesn’t need Kramer’s due course of rights violated for the sake of politics.
The case, Rains mentioned, “was born and has its genesis in tawdry Contra Costa politics.”