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Thursday, April 16, 2009
STEVE ROCCO CONVICTED OF KETCHUP PETTY THEFT
by Orange Net News /O/N/N/
Rocco convicted of petty theft in ketchup bottle theft
Former Orange Unified Board Trustee Steve Rocco was convicted by a Santa Ana Jury on petty theft charges of stealing a half empty bottle of ketchup from Chapman University on Thursday, April 15th, 2009. Rocco was represented by a public defender in the two day trial. Against his attorney’s advice, Rocco took the stand in his own defense and claimed that the ketchup bottle was a plant and that he had picked it up and recycled it. Rocco allegedly was at Chapman University to try and speak with Chapman Political Science Professor Fred Smoller. Smoller had made a documentary for his classes chronicling Rocco’s election and behavior on the OUSD Board.
Rocco appeared throughout the two day trial in with a white bandage wrapped around his whole head and flipped up sunglasses above his glasses. Rocco’s new look replaced the dark watch cap and always present dark sun glasses that became his trademark look on the OUSD Board. The new look was apparently a result of his being thrown out of a Fullerton courtroom two years ago because of wearing a cap and sunglasses by the judge presiding over Rocco's court case against OUSD over a Censure Resolution the OUSD Board passed against Rocco. Rocco, who was represented by the Californian’s Aware organization, also lost that case.
Rocco could receive up to 6 month’s jail time, but that appears unlikely. The Orange County District Attorney’s office has stated that a fine and probation is the most likely sentence. The Orange County District Attorney’s was widely criticized in the media for pursuing the trial at a cost of thousands of tax dollars over an apparent $1.27 half empty ketchup bottle. The D.A.’s office reportedly had offered a plea bargain to Rocco but he refused and insisted on his right to a jury trial.
The Rocco conviction became national news when Yahoo News made the local KCBS/KCAL news report a featured video on its front page.
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