ALRB board designee Isadore Hall committed a crime by threatening and intimidating witnesses opposed to his confirmation to the state board, legal experts say.
The penalty calls for “imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison” – with stiffer sentences possible.
Labor law attorneys tell Pick Justice that Hall – a former lawmaker – allegedly committed a crime by breaking California Penal Code Section 136.1.
Multiple eyewitnesses confirm that Hall verbally abused farmers in an “obscenity-laced tirade” on February 28, the night before his Senate Rules Committee confirmation hearing, and threatened to “get” his critics.
What the law says
The law refers to “Crimes Against Public Justice.” Chapter 6 of that law, called “Falsifying Evidence, and Bribing, Influencing, Intimidating or Threatening Witnesses,” defines the crime specifically. With emphasis added in bold, here’s the precise wording of the law:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person who does any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:
(1) Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
(2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
(3) For purposes of this section, evidence that the defendant was a family member who interceded in an effort to protect the witness or victim shall create a presumption that the act was without malice.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), every person who attempts to prevent or dissuade another person who has been the victim of a crime or who is witness to a crime from doing any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:
(1) Making any report of that victimization to any peace officer or state or local law enforcement officer or probation or parole or correctional officer or prosecuting agency or to any judge.
(2) Causing a complaint, indictment, information, probation or parole violation to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the prosecution thereof.
(3) Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any person in connection with that victimization.
(c) Every person doing any of the acts described in subdivision (a) or (b) knowingly and maliciously under any one or more of the following circumstances, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Where the act is accompanied by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness or victim or any third person or the property of any victim, witness, or any third person.
(2) Where the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy.
(3) Where the act is committed by any person who has been convicted of any violation of this section, any predecessor law hereto or any federal statute or statute of any other state which, if the act prosecuted was committed in this state, would be a violation of this section.
(4) Where the act is committed by any person for pecuniary gain or for any other consideration acting upon the request of any other person. All parties to such a transaction are guilty of a felony.
(d) Every person attempting the commission of any act described in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) is guilty of the offense attempted without regard to success or failure of the attempt. The fact that no person was injured physically, or in fact intimidated, shall be no defense against any prosecution under this section.
(e) Nothing in this section precludes the imposition of an enhancement for great bodily injury where the injury inflicted is significant or substantial.
(f) The use of force during the commission of any offense described in subdivision (c) shall be considered a circumstance in aggravation of the crime in imposing a term of imprisonment under subdivision (b) of Section 1170.
Senator Andy Vidak already reported on several of the witness accounts in a letter to his colleagues and to Governor Jerry Brown.