Lovely Warren, the Mayor of Rochester, New York, has been in the hot seat for quite a while now. It all began with her mishandling and blame-shifting after the death of Daniel Prude in police custody. She was simultaneously facing accusations of campaign finance law violations from her last election. Then it was revealed that her husband had been a suspect in an investigation into a major drug trafficking ring. Things came to a head when both she and her husband were arrested on child endangerment and illegal weapons charges after a police raid on the couple’s home found the child left alone in a house with tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs in it and an unsecured, loaded handgun.
Through it all, Warren continued to protest her innocence in all matters, insisting that she had no idea what her husband had been up to and that the campaign finance questions were all just a “misunderstanding.” Her case was within days of going to trial this week when we learned that the entire affair was being dropped from the court docket following a plea deal. Warren will wind up losing her position as Mayor on December 1st as part of the arrangement, but aside from that, she’s getting off with one of the sweetest deals imaginable. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Mayor Lovely Warren, a groundbreaker as Rochester’s mayor, admitted Monday to breaching the state’s election law and, as part of a plea agreement, will resign from office by Dec. 1.
The plea deal heads off what was expected to be a month-long trial, while also resolving weapons and child endangerment charges Warren confronted in a separate criminal case.
The city’s first Black woman to be elected mayor, Warren’s tenure has been a roller coaster ride, highlighted by some successful commercial development throughout the community but marred by the criminal allegations that have now hounded her for a year.
This is an almost unbelievable outcome that should have the citizens of Rochester up in arms. Warren was facing multiple felonies in both the campaign finance investigation and the weapons and child endangerment arrest. After the bargaining was finished, however, she is pleading guilty to a single count of a misdemeanor for knowingly exceeding allowed maximum campaign contributions. That’s it. That’s the only charge she took. Her campaign treasurer and the treasurer of her PAC both pleaded guilty to the same single charge as well. (They had been funneling money from the PAC directly into her campaign coffers far in excess of legal limits.)
The sentence that Warren and her two co-conspirators received was a year-long “conditional discharge.” No jail time. No fines to pay. They just have to manage to not be arrested again for the next year. And Warren will have to step down as Mayor by December 1. That’s also a complete joke because she already lost her primary race badly earlier this year and she would have been out of office a few weeks later anyway.
To add insult to injury, Warren’s attorney was quick to point out that she is still entitled to her full pension as a two-term mayor. Had she been convicted of a felony, her pension would have been forfeit, but for a misdemeanor, she gets to keep it. The linked article points out that Warren has no previous convictions, so a first offender typically doesn’t draw any sort of maximum sentence, but this is simply ridiculous. How did her attorneys manage to wrangle such an incredibly generous deal for an elected official who engineered a way to outflank campaign finance laws and somehow didn’t know that her husband was running a major drug-dealing operation out of her own house? Elected officials are generally held to a higher standard than rank and file citizens, but apparently not here.
The city previously witnessed many protests with participants chanting “Justice for Daniel Prude.” Perhaps now they should be simply calling for justice in the name of justice. Because justice was not served in this highly dubious plea deal.