Tucker said the judge's accusation was a slur against the whole city. "Compton has a procedure" for dealing with drug-related nuisance cases. "We don't go out on witch hunts." Munoz's action seemed to be "more political than anything else. . . ."
The mayor suggested that copies of the complaint letter be sent to the judge "and anybody else . . . right on up the line."
"The more people that really get the truth about this, the more the onus will be on him," Tucker said.
At one point, James broke into the debate and began talking about his frustrations in trying to cope with the criminal case.
"You know, it's sort of difficult for me to deal with this," James said. "I cannot conceive for the life of me how is it that I got into a situation like this here, totally by doing nothing. And I just do not understand how a system, a judicial system, has been able to lock me into it the way that I am locked into this case."
'Given My Best Dollars'
James said he has "given my best dollars trying to fight this case, and every avenue that I have taken the door has been closed. And the last door was closed on me was when I was convinced to plead a no contest just to get rid of this. And now I'm told by a judge that I have to get you to change your vote on a case unrelated to my case because someone has suggested that I turned this lady in for marijuana."
"So," James concluded, "I'm caught between a rock and a hard spot, trying to deal with the case and maintain my sanity while dealing with something that appears to be bigger than me, and I, for the life of me, cannot understand how this has come to this position."
James said he respected the council desire to "hold fast" to the Houpe decision, even "if it is at the risk of losing my seat. . . . You and I know that I never spoke to none of you in regards to this case or had anything to do with it, so I appreciate (the) stand you are taking."
Filer tried briefly to talk his colleagues out of complaining to the ethics panel, arguing that it was unnecessary. "Don't worry, Mr. Mayor, they know about it, so if they want to investigate they will."
But James quickly countered, saying, "Mr. Mayor, I disagree. I think that a letter should be sent to the judicial council. . . . "
At first, James voted with Tucker, Adams and Councilwoman Jane D. Robbins to send the complaint letter, which Filer opposed. But when City Clerk Charles Davis questioned the propriety of James' taking part in the decision, the councilman reluctantly withdrew his vote and abstained.
The council majority agreed not to send a copy of the complaint letter to Munoz. "He'll find out about it through the back door," Tucker said.