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Probation, fine and eligibility Robert Moreno | Sat, Jun 07 2014 12:00 PM

A San Diego Superior Court judge sentenced former Sweetwater Union High School District board President Jim Cartmill to probation, community service hours and ordered him to pay a fine for a misdemeanor charge of accepting gifts above state limit.

Judge Ana Espana said she found Cartmill  “to be among the least culpable offenders” in a case that the San Diego district attorney has referred to as one of largest public corruption cases in San Diego County history.

For his role in the scandal, Espana sentenced Cartmill to three years probation, 40 hours of community service that must be completed within 120 days and issued him a $4,589 fine.

Espana also said government code 91002, which would have prevented Cartmill from becoming “a candidate for an elective office” does not apply to him, therefore allowing him to run for re-election.

“I will let the voters of the South Bay community decide whether or not they want Mr. Cartmill to continue to represent them and elect him in office,” Espana said.

Cartmill’s term is up in November; however, he was suspended from the school board after he pleaded guilty in April.
Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr told the judge that Cartmill was in fact one of the lesser-profile defendants in the case.

“We do agree with your assessment, as far as Sweetwater defendants go, there is the least amount of evidence for Mr. Cartmill,” Schorr said.

Cartmill entered a guilty plea on April 24 to a misdemeanor charge of receiving gifts above the state limit.

It had initially looked as if he, along with suspended board member Bertha Lopez, would be allowed to stay on the Sweetwater governing board and finish out their terms when Espana cited a finding that would have allowed them to do so.

However, the district then sought clarification from Espana asking how she could allow both board members to remain on the school board when California government code 1770.2 said otherwise.

Code 1770.2 required Lopez and Cartmill to either step down or be suspended once they entered an admission of guilt.

Espana reversed her decision in May and said she did not have the authority to determine if Cartmill and Lopez could remain on the board.

Their immediate suspensions left vacancies on the board as it fell below a quorum.

The district immediately suspended the board members and filed a restraining order, that Superior Court Judge Judith

Hayes granted, allowing the president of the San Diego County Office of Education to appoint four temporary trustees to serve on the board.

Cartmill’s sentencing comes exactly one week after superintendent Dr. Ed Brand announced his retirement from the district, and also when the Sweetwater district held its first meeting as a new board in which trustee John McCann was appointed president.

On advice of his attorney, Cartmill would not comment for this story.

Lopez, the remaining Sweetwater defendant, had her sentencing date moved to June 24.

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sosocal Says:

Sat, Jun 14 2014 09:07 AM

Great example for the school children, isn't it!

Way to encourage all the disaffected youth and support the higher aspirations of Sweetwater students!

Sam Says:

Thu, Jun 12 2014 02:23 PM

Espana is such a joke. No matter what he broke the law and took advantage of our trust. How can people stand him? I away felt he was shady. Just rubbed me the wrong way. He is so greedy that he'll run again. We use to laugh at him because he would bring his whole family to every event to freeload meals. It was discussing.

sosocal Says:

Mon, Jun 09 2014 07:29 AM

So the upshot is--not much of a slap on the wrist for the selling out of this district, and the complete failure of leadership.

Is there a chance Mr. Cartmill will locate a sense of honesty in the near future? Can his decision-making be trusted? Why would he continually give Ed Brand everything Brand wants, when Brand is merely empire-building for himself?

Is Cartmill still a part of the jobs for friends program?

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