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Judge Accepts Recall Effort in Lynwood

August 19, 2003|Richard Marosi | Times Staff Writer

A judge on Monday refused to halt the September recall election against Lynwood City Councilman Paul Richards; the judge said he was reluctant to stop an election in its tracks.

Lynwood City Atty. James Casso was seeking a preliminary injunction to block a campaign that he claimed was marred by fraud and irregularities. Nearly half of the 3,800 signatures gathered, Casso said, were collected by circulators who were not registered voters.

But Superior Court Judge David Yaffe sided with the attorneys for the recall proponents, who argued that canceling the election would unfairly penalize voters.

The proponents denied the fraud allegations. But even if the allegations were true, they said, the appropriate solution would be to punish the circulators.

"We don't believe for a second there was fraud. But even if there was, California law does not support canceling an election," attorney Samuel Goodstein said.

Supporters of the recall vote accuse Richards of corruption and say he steered contracts to relatives. Richards, who is African American, denies the corruption claims and says he is the victim of a racist plot by Latino politicians and residents.

The special election is scheduled for Sept. 23.

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