SANTA ANA, Calif. – Former Orange County Assessor Webster Guillory was convicted today of filing false nomination papers in a re-election bid for County Assessor in the June 2014 Orange County primary election. Webster James Guillory, 71, Newport Beach, was found guilty by a jury of two misdemeanor counts of filing false nomination papers. He faces a sentence ranging from probation and up to two years in jail at his sentencing on Jan. 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-56, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The charges were previously filed as a felony and reduced to misdemeanors by the court over the objection of the People during a preliminary examination hearing.
At the time of the incident, Guillory was the four-term elected County Assessor for the Orange County Office of the Assessor.
To appear as an Assessor candidate on the ballot for a primary election, a person must file required paperwork, including nomination papers, with the Registrar of Voters by 5:00 p.m. on the filing deadline date. A nomination paper is a petition that can be signed by Orange County registered voters to support the candidacy of/nominate the candidate. Each petition page has space for 10 voter signatures. For the Office of Assessor, a candidate must submit 20 valid signatures of registered voters on nomination papers to qualify as a candidate and appear on the ballot.
Nomination papers cannot legally be accepted by the Registrar of Voters unless an affidavit is signed at the end of each page by the signature collector stating that he/she personally circulated the nomination paper and witnessed the signatures being written. The signature collector does not need to be the candidate, but the actual signature collector must be the person to sign each affidavit.
Circumstances of the Case
The filing deadline for the 2014 Orange County primary election for Assessor was March 7, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.
On the afternoon of March 7, 2014, Guillory collected signatures on two petitions, nine on the first petition and two on the second. Guillory also received petitions circulated by his associate, who gathered and collected three full pages of 10 signatures each.
Knowing that he had not personally collected the signatures or witnessed them being written, Guillory signed his name on two of the 10-signature petitions collected by his associate under the affidavit that reads, “I circulated the petition and witnessed the signatures on this section of the nomination paper being written.”
Shortly before the end-of-day filing deadline, Guillory fraudulently filed the two nomination papers at the Registrar of Voters, knowing the information each contained about who had personally circulated the petitions and collected the signatures was false.
This case was about upholding the integrity of elections and upholding the standards set for elected officials who serve the public. We thank the jury for upholding the integrity of the election system.
The Orange County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation received a confidential complaint and investigated this case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14CF3010 / November 18, 2015