Monday, October 01, 2007


This word just in... sources at the courthouse just told me that the case against Benito Acosta - described variously as a "student activist" by his supporters or "pretend Indian" by his opponents - was dismissed late this afternoon by Judge Kelly MacEachern.

Apparently, as reported earlier by Daily Pilot reporter Alicia Robinson, Costa Mesa's prosecutor Dan Peelman was not sworn in as a public prosecutor, which is a requirement of the state constitution. This procedural gaffe, which had been reported as being described by Peelman to the judge as a "harmless error", toppled this case after more than a year of preparation and nearly a week of testimony.

It's my understanding that there was an appeal filed this morning, which may or may not affect the judge's decision. According to sources at the court house, few knowledgeable observers think will change anything. When you consider the legal fees racked up for at least 5 pre-trial hearings , witness depositions and other billable items,
one thing is obvious - the city sure didn't get bang for it's legal buck in this instance.

There are those who think this never should have been brought to trial in the first place, including the Orange County District Attorney's office, which reviewed the circumstances and chose not to prosecute the case. That should have been an alarm bell for officials in our city. Instead, this looks more and more to be about the petulance of the Allan Mansoor-led City Council majority, trying to teach Acosta a lesson for his rudeness before them on several occasions.

Looming on the horizon is the federal civil rights case that will apparently be filed against the city by Acosta's ACLU attorneys. This one has the potential to reach deep into the city coffers and really do some financial damage - all because we have a majority that lacks the maturity and wisdom to effectively manage this city.

So, dear Costa Mesa readers, the next time you fall into a pothole or have to wait longer than you wish for response by a member of Costa Mesa's public safety organizations, thank the majority on the council. They've developed "frittering away money" into an art form!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not surprised by the latest developments. The pending civil rights violations against Costa Mesa (remember, the Mayor represents us) will bring back national media attention to our ciudad. Mansoor loves to be an anti-immigrant poster boy, and enjoys to be followed by television cameras, Periodistas, and so on. It looks like our tax money goes to fulfill his senseless childhood dreams.

10/02/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly hope the city receives a refund for any billings that have been made regarding this case.

Talk about a huge professional error!

10/02/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't think that will happen, unfortunately! It is an unfortunate turn of events, but a great catch on the ACLU's part. Their attorney's should be commended for spotting that issue.

It will be very interesting to see how the appeal turns out.

I wonder if the prosecutor stint is part of the City's retention agreement with the law firm? If it isn't, and the City ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars to prosecute Acosta, we deserve an explanation. Perhaps it was to address the resisting police issue, which would be justifiable to a certain extent.

10/02/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,

I would think they have malpractice insurance to cover such things. The city shouldn't be out of pocket on this regardless of which side of the issue anyone comes down on.

As for the logic behind moving forward, that is certainly something the current city council should defend to their constituents. The taxpayers deserve to understand what they were thinking. On the surface it seems frivolous to me. I would like to be reassured by our leaders that there is more to this than that.

10/03/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Someone identifying himself as "The Truth" tried to slip a fastball past me in an attempt to post a comment here inciting violence. Nice try, knucklehead! Do you actually think I would publish that garbage? Get a life!

10/03/2007 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Violence against who? That is the very last thing this issue needs!!

10/03/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob, can't tell you.... not me. 'nuff said.

10/03/2007 04:45:00 PM  

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