Ballot Thief Suspect Give Silent Treatment

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011  |  Updated 9:23 AM PDT
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Ballot Thief Suspect Give Silent Treatment

A man accused of stealing ballots from a San Francisco polling  station last November seems determined not to get out of jail after giving  the silent treatment to the judge at his sentencing hearing.

    Karl Bradfield Nicholas, 51, was set to receive a one-year  sentence but would likely have been set free today because of credit for time  already served.     Instead, he is being held for at least two additional days for a  mental health examination.
    The silent treatment was the latest in a series of bizarre  hearings involving the case, in which Nicholas is accused of taking ballots,  a voter roster, and a memory box and access key to a voting machine on Knott  Court in the city's Crocker Amazon neighborhood where he was working as a  voting station inspector on Nov. 2, 2010.
    Nicholas was arrested on Nov. 3, and the ballots were later found  in the lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts, prosecutors said.
    He pleaded guilty in December to felony counts of tampering with  voting machines and ballots, but then tried to withdraw the plea in April,  but the motion was denied by Judge James Collins.
    Then last Tuesday -- the one-year mark of his credit for time  served -- Nicholas was tackled by sheriff's deputies during a hearing in  which his defense attorney Stuart Blumstein had filed a motion to have him  released from jail on his own recognizance.
    But during the hearing, Nicholas started yelling at Collins and  was taken to the ground by the deputies, according to Blumstein.
    The yelling "was out of character" for Nicholas, said Blumstein,  who said he did not know what sparked the outburst since "he had an  opportunity to get out."
    Nicholas took the opposite approach today with Judge Anne  Boulianne, the judge who had received his guilty plea and presided over the  sentencing hearing.
    He refused to acknowledge questions from Boulianne, instead  staring straight ahead silently, prompting her to order him held until  Wednesday, saying his actions made her "very concerned."
    Blumstein said the incident with the ballots in November was a  political act by Nicholas, who felt the city's Department of Elections was  cutting corners in their administering of the election.
    "He was making a political statement and overreacted...but is  trying to move on with his life," Blumstein said before today's hearing, but  his client clearly had other plans.
    However at the hearing, Nicholas clearly had other plans. He will  return to court Wednesday for the results of the mental health examination.
 

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