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  • Friday, September 05, 2008

     

    Appeals Court rules against Orange Unified Trustee Steve Rocco


    Appeals Court rules against Orange Unified Trustee Steve Rocco

    Late Thursday September 4th, the California 4th Appeallate Court threw out the appeal of Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco against the $37,000 in legal fees he was ordered to pay to Orange Unified by an Orange County Superior Court. The original $37,000 judgment against Rocco stems from a lawsuit Rocco initiated against Orange Unified when the Board majority passed a Resolution of Censure against Rocco over his remarks during a 2006 OUSD Board Meeting about former Villa Park High School Principal Ben Rich. Orange Unified placed a lien on Rocco’s Santa Ana home to collect the judgment.

    Richard McKee, President of the California First Amendment Coalition and co-founder of Californians Aware, had supported Rocco’s legal case and claims that OUSD was violating Rocco’s free speech. McKee has a history of legal battles with OUSD’s legal firm Parker & Covert in OUSD and other districts.

    The Appeals court ruled that Rocco’s case was without merit because the Orange Unified Trustees had a right to issue the Resolution of Censure as an expression of the Board’s majority joint opinion as a “communication in connection with a public issue”. The court further ruled that the appeal violated the California’s Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) laws. Those laws are designed to protect from lawsuits aimed at silencing free speech on public issues.

    In addition to placing a lien on Rocco’s house, in a border realignment known as the Nichols Realignment, Rocco’s house was removed from his Trustee Area effectively preventing him from running for re-election when his term is up in November. Rocco has filed to run for a city council seat in Santa Ana.


    For More Information CLICK ON:


    California First Amendment Coalition


    Californians Aware


    Rollyo Search Engine on ROCCO/ RICH stories:
    ROLLYO ROCCO

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