After reading Parts I and II of Vern Nelson’s epic “Paul Lucas is Our Hero” series, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a political blog or watching a drama on the Hallmark Channel. Nelson’s posts paint a story of good vs. evil, or right vs. wrong, of justice vs. injustice, and promises a happy ending to the entire story. What the story is really about is the fall from grace from someone who seemed to have a promising future in our party and instead will soon be a guest of taxpayers.
Nelson has an interesting definition of happy ending.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, John Paul Lucas of Orange pleaded guilty February 10, 2014 to a singe felony count of possession of a controlled substance, which court documents identify as methamphetamine (
think the size of a golf ball). He has been sentenced to 120 days in county lockup (likely Theo Lacy Jail) beginning March 14, 2014. Lucas will have to pay several fines associated with his conviction. And he has three years of supervised probation.
Jail time (likely to be two months served instead of the full four), fines and probation can only be viewed as a “happy ending” by Nelson in the context of additional drug and weapons charges that were dropped against Lucas which carried sentences of four to six years each. So it could have been much worse. We’re told that it is unlikely Lucas will have access to medical marijuana while incarcerated.
In a comment on the OJ blog’s first post on the story, Lucas downplayed the case. He wrote: “…it sounds much ore (sic) sinister than the reality of it. The cannabis was mine, very legal. The guns were mine. All registered in my name, no ammunition, locked away downstairs in the garage, disassembled, and or safety locked in their case that was locked in the storage container in the garage. The controlled substance did not belong to me. However, legally, I had whats called constructive possession of it. All gun charges were dropped, all cannabis charges were dropped, and the controlled substance charge was reduced.”
The controlled substance charge was originally a felony charge and it remained a felony charge; we’re still waiting on court records to see if this claim holds up. The DA’s office says it was not “diminished.”
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Lucas’ felony conviction, jail sentence and probation make him ineligible to vote in local, state or federal elections until February 9, 2017 when he is eligible to re-register.
Lucas was arrested October 2011 in possession of nearly 11 ounces of marijuana, 3 grams
ounces of methamphetamine, and four firearms: a .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, a 12 gauge pump action shotgun, a .357 pistol and a 9MM automatic Lugar pistol. Officers also seized more than $9,000 in cash. Lucas’ felony conviction means he must surrender his rights to own these weapons under law. His chances of getting his legal gun rights restored is a difficult and lengthy process the requires securing a Certificate of Rehabilitation through the Superior Court in Orange County after proving that he’s been “a good honest citizen for several years” or if he successfully makes a direct appeal for pardon to the Governor. It’s almost certain Lucas will never legally be able to possess a firearm ever again.
Lucas’ March 14 date for incarceration means he can still attend and vote in the state Democratic Party’s Convention which is a week earlier. Lucas is a Democratic Party delegate in AD-68. The bylaws on the removal of a delegate depend more on public support of a candidate other than the one officially endorsed by the party or registering with another party and are not based on if a delegate has a felony conviction.
Lucas’ conviction is a black eye for Democrats in Orange County on a number of fronts. Nelson’s defense of Lucas with an eye towards the character assassination of the Buena Park Brea Police Officers who investigated the case is particularly shameful. But the attempt to whitewash Lucas’ reputation by elevating his reaction to the arrest and prosecution that Lucas is somehow the victim here is just dumb.
We’ve received a number of threatening messages from Lucas over the years, accusing us of being “full throated Jannies” (supporters of Janet Nguyen) despite their being little evidence of this and generally making a number of false statements about how this blog is operated or our support of certain candidates or issues. You simply can’t trust him to be truthful about anything he says about us. When we sued the Orange Juice blog in 2010, Lucas sent email threatening us and calling for us to “cease and desist” our “thuggish ways.” And most recently, in a comment on another blog last year, Lucas suggested he would “stand his ground” if we ever wrote about him again. So in that light, we’re happy he can’t legally own a gun again.
My last interaction with Lucas in person was at the DPOC’s open house for the new headquarters in Orange. I was chatting with Nick Anas and Lucas came outside the door and I said hello to him (and Nick is my witness). And I did approach Lucas inside the hall to tell him I had deleted some anonymous and nasty comments about him on this blog for violations of terms of service. He asked what the comments were about and I said “your pending drug trial.” Then I got up and left. But if you believe what he writes online, you’d swear I’m in his face asking for a fight. Frankly, I want nothing to do with him.
I make it a policy, generally speaking, not to give money to candidates I can’t personally vote for. I have violated that four times. I have written checks to Loretta Sanchez, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Lorri Galloway, and I wrote a $100 check to Paul Lucas when he was running for assembly. We all make mistakes don’t we?