Below is a letter that I just received from Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
I apologize to the District Attorney and Susan Kang Schroeder, if there was any confusion over my comments. (See last paragraph.) I don’t believe anyone influenced the filing decision. I would never belittle the District Attorney or Susan Kang Schroeder. If there was any confusion about my comments, I am sorry.– John
Thank you for re-examining the issue. When conservative, tough prosecutor District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who led the recall against liberal California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird, and lifelong American Civil Liberties Union member Professor Alan Dershowitz are on the same page, either hell has frozen over or there is merit to their position. I cannot write as eloquently as the following persons who have spoken out on the matter.
A couple of things I would like to address – you state that, “not every violation of the law deserves a criminal charge.” The way prosecution works in Orange County is a police agency brings a case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA). We examine it and determine whether there is a violation of law. If there is, we file the case regardless whether the submitted case is a DUI or a murder or a DUI murder. We do not ignore violations of the law and file approximately 70,000 cases a year. In this case, University of California, Irvine, Police submitted the case for prosecution. At the same time, an anonymous packet containing the incriminating emails by the defendants was dropped off at the OCDA.
Not only did the defendants in this case shut down the speaker’s right to speak, they violated the First Amendment rights of the 700-member audience, some of whom were Holocaust survivors, from listening to the speech. An elderly witness who was present in the audience testified during trial that she was frightened and intimidated by the defendants’ actions.
This crime is not some minor traffic infraction. This is a well-thought out, long-term conspiracy to shut down Jews from speaking on U.S. campuses. “Michael Oren and any other Israeli politician knows that we will not allow them to come here to our campuses,” (sic) the conspiracy stated, “whether it be at UCI or any other campus around the nation.” (People’s Exhibit #11) In fact, they were recruiting high school students. “Remember, these guys could be future MSU members.” (People’s Exhibit #24)
This is not about some innocent mistaken belief of fresh-faced college students who the First Amendment protects. They knew they were violating the law, calculated their risk of getting arrested, (People’s Exhibit #15) and engaged in a cover up. “[R]emember MSU did not officially put this on … it was individual students” and “let’s all keep ourselves in check. no matter what happened from now on … good or bad.” [sic. Emphasis original.] (People’s Exhibit #30)
It is well-settled in California law that it is a crime to conspire to commit a crime and to disturb a lawful meeting. The Supreme Court of California upheld the law. (In re Kay (1970) 1 Cal. 3rd 930, 946) Prosecutorial discretion was applied by District Attorney Rackauckas by charging this case as a misdemeanor, instead of a felony. He even offered the defendants to take responsibility at filing, perform community service, and the opportunity to expunge their records within six months.
The defendants were represented by at least 10 lawyers who filed and argued many motions, including a motion to dismiss, discriminatory prosecution, recusal, etc. The trial court soundly dismissed their motions and found that there was overwhelming evidence to proceed.
This jury, despite being intimidated by 100+ defense supporters during trial, found the defendants guilty of all counts.
Finally, I am not sure why you wrote, “Remember, it was Mike Schroeder, Susan’s husband, who led the condemnation of the racist `Obama Chimp’ email kerfuffle. He led that fight because it was the right thing to do because racist comments should be condemned.” This comment is insulting to District Attorney Rackauckas. He does not make filing decisions based on requests by Mike Schroeder. Second, it is sexist and insulting to me as a professional and one of the highest-ranking female prosecutors in the State, to suggest that I would make a legal decision on a case based on to whom I am married.
I appreciate you taking the time to review the evidence, but I remain in the belief that your evaluation on this case is superficial and misguided.
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Orange County District Attorney