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Accused A.S. Member To Keep Office

Associated Students On-Campus Representative Joseph Lee, who was also elected as a 2011-12 Representative-at-Large, pled not guilty yesterday to four charges in relation to a recent laptop theft.

Lee, who was arrested on April 27 and incarcerated for five days in Santa Barbara County Jail, is set to appear in court on May 18 — the same day next year’s A.S. elected officials will take office. Lee, a second-year political science major, was detained in connection with a theft that occurred on April 19 at Santa Catalina residence hall and faces charges of felony burglary, unauthorized altering of computer data system, receiving stolen property and grand theft.

The decision to plea not guilty was largely a strategic measure, Lee said.

“It was recommended by my attorney,” Lee said. “It was basically to postpone the preliminary hearing.”

Despite the controversy, Lee said he will continue to serve as a student body representative — starting at today’s 5 p.m. A.S. Legislative Council meeting.

“I will be performing my job for the rest of this quarter,” Lee said. “For this year at least, I will continue to represent the students as best as possible.”

According to Lee, there is no connection between his elected office and the criminal investigation.

“It’s a personal matter,” Lee said. “I believe there’s a boundary between this and my Legislative Council position.”

According to A.S. Legal Code, Legislative council members must “remember that they are elected to the ASUCSB Legislative Council for the sole purpose of serving students and shall during Legislative Council meetings, show the highest degree of respect, regard and decency to their fellow students.”

Internal Vice President Jake Elwood, who oversees A.S. Legislative Council, said the allegations will not affect Lee’s position in the association for the time being.

“At this point, he’s still innocent until he’s convicted of any crime,” Elwood said. “In all likelihood, I won’t personally take any action.”

Elwood, a fourth-year political science major, said Lee’s situation does not reflect upon the integrity of the council as a whole.

“Based on what I’ve heard — which is just speculation — it sounds like he’s one guy who made a mistake,” Elwood said. “As far as my memory proves, the council hasn’t had any legal problems this year.”


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2 Responses to Accused A.S. Member To Keep Office

  1. Ann

    May 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Lee was caught with the stolen property in his possession. He is a CRIMINAL and a THEIF and does not care about other students or he would not steal from them. His actions caused academic & personal harm. It was not just a mistake! It was deliberate and malicious. He pretended to be a friend to the victim while he erased all the assignments, homework and books that were on the laptop. You think this sociopathic behavior is a first time event?
    A person with integrity and honesty does not do this. Joseph Lee has no personal ethics. The honorable thing to do at this point is for him to RESIGN.

  2. Student

    May 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I call for his immediate resignation! Clearly he does not represent student views if he is stealing laptops. Last time I check I didn’t have to post a $20,000. Shame on Jake Elwood to not see that Lee is obviously breaking the AS legal code by wrongly representing AS.

    Once in AS you always have that attachment to you, be it your conducting official business or not. You are representing the university in all matters because you are always recognized and associated with AS.