December 10, 2012 | 5:01pm
A California judge has ruled that Sheriff Mike Carona violated state law by committing "egregious and despicable" retaliation inside the Orange County Sheriff's Department against one of his 2006 election opponents: Lieutenant Bill Hunt who campaigned on restoring integrity to the agency and found himself severely demoted hours after the contest.
"The court finds that there is an abundance of evidence to establish malice," wrote Orange County Superior Court Judge David T. McEachen in his Dec. 6 ruling. "Department officials, at the direction of Carona, set out to destroy Hunt's candidacy by directly attacking his friends and supporters."
Humiliated by Carona's orchestrated harassment and demotion to street patrol, Hunt--a popular police chief in San Clemente--eventually quit, sued for the sabotage to his exemplary OCSD career and launched a successful private detective company.
In an attempt to give Hunt justice, McEachen ordered the OCSD to hand him back his high-ranking job and give him more than $280,619 in back pay plus $50,000 in penalties. The county will also have to reimburse him for his lawyer fees.
"Never before had a person with Hunt's experience, rank and exemplary record been demoted from a command position to a street patrol deputy," observed the Gov. Pete Wilson-appointed judge, who also stated that Carona had violated California's Peace Officers' Bill of Rights by punishing the lieutenant for making constitutionally-protected political statements. "This court's findings will contribute to the restoration of Hunt's highly respected name."
By the way, one other group deserves public ridicule for its conduct in the matter. Even though they knew Carona was a scumbag, Orange County's board of supervisors--like John Moorlach
--supported his retaliation against Hunt, a Laguna Hills resident. They could have done the right thing years ago by dropping their efforts to thwart justice in court, but they didn't.
Forgotten the shame Carona brought to Orange County?
and go HERE
for the memories.
Though the ex-sheriff is a convicted felon, taxpayers are paying him more than $20,000 a month in public employee pension benefits even while he's in prison and will do so for as long as he lives.
He won't have to pay a dime for causing the Hunt mess.
(The only newspaper that reported Hunt's plight was the OC Weekly