Justices Rebuff D.A.'s Appeal

Times Staff Writer

The state Supreme Court will not hear Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’ appeal of an order commanding him to reinstate one of his former top deputies.

Former Assistant Dist. Atty. Jane Shade was demoted from her position as supervising prosecutor at the North Justice Center in Fullerton after she supported an unsuccessful challenger to Rackauckas in the 2002 election.

The state 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled in August that demoting Shade for backing another prosecutor violated her constitutional right to free speech.


Rackauckas appealed, and Wednesday the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Shade, now a professor at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, said Thursday that the higher court’s decision left her “thrilled.”

“It underscores that Rackauckas’ actions in the aftermath of the election were unconstitutional,” Shade said. “I’m very happy.”

Because of the Veterans Day holiday, representatives of the district attorney’s office could not be reached for comment.

Shade’s case was the first of four such lawsuits, all by prosecutors Rackauckas similarly demoted, to reach the appeals court. All are connected to Rackauckas’ 2002 reelection campaign, in which he was opposed by one of his deputies, Wally Wade.