California's deputy attorney general, Charles Kirk, was sentenced yesterday to 10 days in federal prison for lying to a judge about a Black Panther's records.
In Colorado, meanwhile, a judge dismissed a grand jury indictment accusing the secretary of state, Mary Estill Buchanan, of embezzlement and official misconduct.
The California sentence, handed down in San Francisco by U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti, was stayed, and Kirk remained free on his own recognizance pending an appeal of the contempt-of-court conviction.
Conti said "honesty and integrity must be paramount" for attorneys in their relationship with colleagues and the court.
Kirk apologized, saying that "it had not been my intention t mislead the court . . . I attemped to make a good-faith representation of my client."
Last April the judge asked the attorney for documents relating to prison inmate Elmer (Geronimo) Pratt's activities in the Black Panther Party and the Black Guerrilla Family. Conti said Kirk replied, "They are in my files in Sacramento," when in fact he did not have them.
The Colorado charges stemmed from Buchanan's successful 1978 campaign for election to a second term as secretary of state. The highest ranking Republican in state government, she has said she hopes to seek nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Gary Hart next year.
District Judge Roger Cisneros said he spent more than 20 hours reviewing 200 pages of grand jury transcripts before deciding to dismiss the indictment, the first in many years against any official in Colorado elected statewide.