DUBLIN — An ex-Hayward officer who at one point was convicted on theft charges — until an appeals court ruled the prosecution had demonstrated “reprehensible” misconduct throughout his trial — agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor in exchange for a day in jail and five years of probation, court records show.
Michael Scott Beal accepted a misdemeanor grand theft conviction, in exchange for the sentence, in a Dec. 7 court hearing, according to court records. It is a far cry from the nine felony convictions and six-year prison term Beal received after he was convicted at his 2017 trial of conning a woman out of thousands of dollars.
Under terms of the deal, Beal gets credit for the time he was incarcerated and on probation. His probation date is set to end in 2022, court records show.
When an appeals court lambasted Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Connie Campbell’s handling of the case and reversed Beal’s convictions last August, Beal had already served his prison term and been released. The First District Appellate Court judges, in their 38-page decision, didn’t pull punches on their opinion of how the prosecutor handled the case.
“We conclude (Campbell) repeatedly used deceptive or reprehensible methods that, given their cumulative impact, denied (Beal) his right to a fair trial,” the decision says. It later adds, “The fact that the reconstituted jury deliberated at least seven more days before reaching a guilty verdict underscores the closeness of this case.”
The court cited three main instances of misconduct, which occurred during Campbell’s cross-examination of Beal. One was Campbell referring to him as a “dirty cop,” while another was her suggestion that another judge at a prior hearing told Beal she thought he was lying. The third was insinuating the trial judge was biased toward Beal when Campbell asked him if he made friends with Alameda County judges during his career.
At the time, Beal’s attorney told this newspaper he was confident Beal would be acquitted if the case went to trial a second time.
Beal, a 27-year Hayward police veteran, was accused of stealing $400,000-$500,000 from a woman who suffered from schizophrenia and other mental illness. She testified he lied to her — including by suggesting they get married — to swindle her out of the cash. The defense maintained that the woman was more in control of the situation than the prosecution alleged and Beal testified during trial the woman had perjured herself on the stand.
Published at Thu, 17 Dec 2020 13:42:00 +0000