An Orange County Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed a misdemeanor petty theft charge related to sign-stealing allegations against Buena Park City Councilwoman Youngsun “Sunny” Park after jurors deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal.
Park was charged a year ago and faced up to six months in jail if convicted. Jurors deliberated for about three hours over two days before telling Orange County Superior Court Judge Beatriz Gordon they were deadlocked, Park’s attorney, Julie Swain, said.
Gordon later dismissed the petty theft charge, citing Park’s character and her lack of any criminal record, Swain said.
“I am thrilled that I can put this behind me and focus on serving the community effectively,” Park said. “I am thankful to my family, supporters and voters for maintaining their confidence in me. I have trust in our justice system. The truth came out. And justice has been served.”
“It was all over a $3 sign,” Swain said.
Swain argued Park had the property owner’s permission to read signs that bore her name and “carpetbagger” on them. There was a question of whether the signs were on private or city property, but Swain argued it shouldn’t matter since her client wouldn’t have known the boundaries and therefore there was no criminal intent.
The signs were placed in the 4600 block of Beach Boulevard in an office park, Swain said.
They were put up by the Committee for a Better Buena Park, and one of its members admitted during testimony he had been convicted in the past of sign stealing, Swain said.
Park’s opponent in the election testified for her as a character witness, Swain said.
Park and an unidentified man were accused of taking about a dozen signs, reading “No Sunny Park, Carpentbagger,” prosecutors said.