Crime & Justice

Lawsuit over alleged Capistrano Unified ‘enemies list' ends

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A 5-year-old lawsuit over an alleged “enemies list" at the Capistrano Unified School District has finally ended. An appeals court yesterday cleared former district administrator Susan McGill.

Former Capistrano Unified Superintendent James Fleming and his assistant, Susan McGill, were both charged five years ago for their alleged role in compiling a list of parents who’d criticized the school board. Prosecutors said the list also contained the names of the parents’ kids and their schools.

An appeals court dropped the charges against Fleming six months ago. The same state appeals court has ordered prosecutors to drop criminal charges against McGill. The court said McGill never had a chance to defend herself before the grand jury that originally brought the charges.

A lower court suggested that Orange County should censure its prosecutors for misconduct in the case. But the appeals court found that legal error, not misconduct, led prosecutors to prevent McGill from defending herself to the grand jury before her indictment. The higher court says that legal error doesn’t constitute “bad faith,” so the prosecutors should not be punished.