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'Battling Bob' Still Can't Beat Felony Rap

February 28, 1990|STEVE EMMONS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — He campaigned as Battling Bob Battin, the man who never quit a fight, and it got him a seat as 1st District county supervisor in 1969, then a criminal conviction in 1976 of misusing public funds.

And Battin, now 60, is still fighting--vainly, it appears.

The 4th District Court of Appeal on Monday ruled against his latest attempt to modify his 14-year-old record. Battin, a lawyer representing himself in the appeal, is trying to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and have the court files sealed.

Conviction of a felony disqualified Battin from seeking public office in California, and holding public office was supremely important to him, he has said on several occasions.

He had been a county supervisor for seven years and was running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor when he used his supervisorial staff as campaign workers. A trial jury decided that constituted misuse of his staff's county-paid salaries. He later received a suspended sentence, was put on three years' probation and fined $3,500.

Battin appealed his conviction as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, but the ruling stood.

Then, last year he petitioned Orange County Superior Court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor. The court refused, he appealed, and Monday the appeal court also refused.

Battin could again take his appeal to a higher court. He could not be reached Tuesday to comment.

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