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Mistrial Ruled in Councilman's Case

February 03, 1988

The misdemeanor conflict-of-interest trial of Downey Councilman James S. Santangelo ended in a mistrial Tuesday after the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction.

Downey Municipal Judge Robert G. Drees declared a mistrial after foreman William Melvin of Long Beach said the jury was deadlocked after deliberating for 1 1/2 days.

Santangelo, 53, was charged with having a conflict of interest when he voted in July, 1984, to expand the city's redevelopment district. Santangelo owned land in the original district and in the expansion area.

The holdout juror, who asked that he not be identified, said he was not convinced Santangelo stood to benefit from the expansion any more than the general public, a requirement for conviction.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Herbert Lapin said prosecutors have until March 7 to decide whether Santangelo will be retried. "At 11 to 1, I think we're probably obligated to retry it," he said.

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