[UPDATED with Denial:] NO New Trial for Steve Rocco, Ex-Orange School Trustee, in Ketchup Heist
UPDATE, AUG. 8, 8:38 A.M.: Game, set and match, The Partnership?
Steve Rocco lost his bid for retrial of his ketchup theft conviction Friday when Judge Jacki Brown refused the ex-Orange Unified School Board trustee's request for court-appointed counsel and, thus, a continuation of the nonsense.
Does this mean the judge, too, is part of the evil cabal led by Albertsons, Kodak and Smokecraft Sausage that secretly controls Orange County, a conspiracy Rocco uncovered decades ago when he was arrested for shoplifting several rolls of film and a couple of sausages from a supermarket?
We await the manifesto.
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UPDATE, JUNE 8, 1:30 PM: Looks like The Partnership, the evil cabal led by Albertsons, Kodak and Smokecraft Sausage that secretly controls Orange County, a conspiracy ex-Orange Unified School Board Trustee Steve Rocco uncovered decades ago when he was arrested for shoplifting several rolls of film and a couple of sausages from a supermarket, has struck again. This time, the cabal's dastardly doings involve a ruling by Judge Jacki Brown that Rocco can't get his trial moved outside of Orange County.
As explained below, Rocco had sought to have Brown disqualified because she had tried to talk him out of representing himself during his original trial, in which he was convicted of shoplifting a room-temperature, half-used bottle of Heinz ketchup. Thanks to The Orange County Register's Frank Mickadeit and his tireless pursuit of this important courtroom caper, you can read all the exciting details about the ongoing mess in Brown's courtroom right over here.
UPDATED, April 25, 12:34 P.M.: According to an April 22 story in The Orange County Register, Judge Jacki Brown of Quentin Tarantino fame has issued a ruling that clears the way for Steve Rocco to represent himself in a retrial scheduled to begin May 20 in the great ketchup caper (see below). You'd think the mystery man would be thanking her judgeship, but instead, he told her that May 20 is too soon for him to prepare his legal defense.
Why? "I'm going to spend the next month, judge, asking you to recuse yourself," Rocco stated. "I think that's going to take most of my month up."
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 14, 11:34 A.M.: For those who don't recall, Steve Rocco is the wacky recluse whose stint on the Orange Unified School Board a few years back is mostly memorable for the dark sunglasses and beanie he wore to meetings and the fact that he used the podium as a soapbox to advance his unintelligible conspiracy theories about "The Partnership," a sinister cabal involving Albertsons and Kodak Film that Rocco uncovered three decades ago when he was arrested for stealing some Kodak film rolls from an Albertsons store.
Ring a bell yet? The guy who won his race for the school board simply because he called himself an "educator" and wasn't backed by the teachers' union? Who single-handedly proved the axiom that if you don't know who you're voting for, you're going to wind up having your kids' education being directed by the walking reincarnation of the deceased comedian Andy Kaufman?
Anyway, in September 2008, Rocco was busted for allegedly stealing a half-empty, non-refrigerated bottle of Heinz ketchup from a cafeteria at Chapman University. Prosecutors estimated the value of the purloined sauce at $1.20. Although he would have received only informal probation if he pleaded guilty, Rocco insisted on going to trial and nearly represented himself in court. The jury convicted him in April 2009, and Rocco got informal probation just the same.
Now, according to an article today in the OC Register, Rocco is demanding a new trial. He has spent the past few months filing motions seeking to have taken off his case Judge Jacki Brown, not to mention his court-appointed lawyers. He also appealed his conviction, and last year, the Reg reports, a "three-judge Superior Court panel ruled . . . that Judge Brown should have allowed Rocco a change of representation earlier in light of defense counsel's . . . inadequate explanation for her unwillingness to bring a potentially viable motion for a new trial."
When we last talked to Rocco at an impromptu press conference held at a picnic table in an Orange park, he promised his battle to expose wasn't over. Maybe this stunning development is what he was predicting, although there could be more in store for this courageous legal crusader and condiment enthusiast.