During the normal course of political campaigns, one can expect to see a certain amount of ‘mud-slinging.’ However, when former Santa Clara Supervisor (name withheld for privacy) decided to impersonate his 2010 opponent for San Jose City Council, he stepped over the line of politics and into the realm of a legal morass. He has recently been indicted on felony charges of impersonation, given that prosecutors argue he sent out a mailer to an area with a large Vietnamese population that claimed his opponent was in league with the communist government in Vietnam. A movement which the opponent council member argues caused her to lose the race to his former aide by a slim margin (about 400 votes).
The original accusations and complaints from the opponent council member camp turned up little in the way of evidence, but further information came to light this year when the former supervisor was forced to give a DNA sample when booked on other charges. The DNA from that sample was then compared to the sample from the stamps on the offending mailers and the connection was solidified. In the state of California, charges of false impersonation are serious (CA Penal Code 529). If the charges for this wobbler had been filed as a misdemeanor, he would be looking at about 1 year in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine. However, since he has been indicted on felony false impersonation charges, he will face up to 3 years in state prison and the same maximum fine.