Castro Valley, CA Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi was given a dramatically reduced sentence after claims that she tried to take items totaling $2,500 in value from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus Store got her arrested last October 23rd 2011. Hayashi, who originally said she was not guilty, was arraigned for felony theft, a charge that could have sent her to jail for up to three years.
But San Francisco Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval made a different decision after Hayashi changed her plea to “no contest” on Friday. According to Sam Singer, Assemblywoman Hayashi’s spokesperson, it was found that she had a brain tumor.
While reportedly benign, she never used the tumor as an excuse for her behavior that led to her carrying the items out of the store while forgetting to pay for them. She admitted that she made a mistake and was distracted by juggling two cell phones when she walked out. Based on that information, Judge Gerardo Sandoval gave her a sentence of three years probation and a $200 fine, as well as an order not to get to within 50 feet of the San Francisco Neiman Marcus Store.
Singer, who played a key role in the outcome, said that the sentence was a just outcome for someone who has helped the California community in so many ways. Singer said he normally takes on such cases, and was happy to help a person of such stature in the community.
SF District Attorney George Gascon later said this about Sandoval’s decision: “She is a first-time offender. She has no criminal record. So while what she did is inexcusable and she needs to be held accountable for her actions, I think it’s appropriate to examine and explore all the different possibilities.”