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Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in Law | 4 comments

Prosecutorial Indescretion: The Irvine 11

From On The Media:

In February of last year, a group of Muslim students on the University of California Irvine campus disrupted a speech by Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the US. The university punished the students, but the “Irvine 11” also faced criminal charges. A couple weeks back 10 of them were convicted of conspiracy and disturbance of a meeting.

OTM spoke with both Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who explained why his office decided to prosecute, and the Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, Erwin Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky explains the indescretion:

They should be punished by the university. There was no need for criminal prosecution.

Now, of course, if this happens in the future and the D.A. doesn’t prosecute, then there‚Äôll be claims of unequal justice, of discriminatory prosecution. And I think those would be very powerful criticisms.

On the other hand, it’s really sad to see a bad decision become precedent for future bad decisions.

The solution? Less prosecutorial discretion and more community accountability. See here and here.

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