Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Case # 11CM01351
February 4, 2011
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
STATEMENT BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
TONY RACKAUCKAS REGARDING CONSPIRACY
TO DISRUPT UCI MEETING
SANTA ANA – The following is a statement by Orange County District Attorney regarding charges filed against 11 defendants conspiring and disrupting a lawful assembly at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), during a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8, 2010:
“It is the sworn duty of the District Attorney to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California.’ Freedom of speech is a precious Constitutional right that goes to the heart of our democratic form of government.
This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI. These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting. This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution.
We must decide whether we are a Country of laws or a Country of anarchy. We cannot tolerate a pre-planned violation of the law, even if the crime takes place on a school campus and even if the defendants are college students. In our democratic society, we cannot tolerate a deliberate, organized, repetitive and collective effort to significantly disrupt a speaker, who hundreds assembled to hear. We cannot tolerate having a group deciding to prevent a speaker from speaking, an audience from listening, and the speaker and the audience from engaging in an exchange of ideas in the form of questions and answers.