A former Democratic mayor in Arizona has been sentenced to jail after being convicted of ballot harvesting charges. Guillermina Fuentes was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years probation after the judge rejected her plea for probation because he did not think she accepted responsibility for her criminal act.
Most of these cases, and some Trump supporters have been busted doing the same, result in probation. But the judge shocked observers and ordered jail for this felon. Fuentes is a 66-year-old school board member and former mayor of the small border town of San Luis. Yuma County Superior Court Judge Roger Nelson overruled her character witnesses to send her to jail saying:
“The defendant acknowledged responsibility for carrying ballots for someone else. However, she stated, ‘I’m not a criminal.’ Well, you are a criminal. You committed a criminal offense.
“I don’t think you recognize that as a criminal offense. That’s the problem that I have.
“Many of the things that were put forward as mitigating factors, I think they’re also aggravating factors.
“You have been a leader in the San Luis community for a long time. People look up to you, people respect you, and they look to what you do.
“It’s been an issue for a long time, or at least it’s been alleged that it’s an issue, that people vote for others, take their ballots.
“Everybody that’s involved in politics in this area knew that a new law was passed.
“You certainly knew it, that that law was new, even went up to the Supreme Court.”
Anne Chapman, Fuentes’ lawyer, said:
“She entered a plea of guilty to ballot abuse — that is, delivering four lawfully voted, signature-verified ballots.
“The rest of the allegations against Ms. Fuentes are untrue, unfounded, untested and largely made-up by election-denying political opponents who have a political ax to grind.”
Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson said:
“The question is, why does Fuentes feel the need to exert pressure over people in her community and control the flow of their ballot to the ballot box.
“That’s the issue of public integrity here,” he said.