UC Santa Barbara professor pleads “no contest” to stealing and destroying young anti-abortion protester’s sign, assaulting protester

July 25, 2014

From yesterday’s Santa Barbara Independent:

A UCSB Feminist Studies professor accused of stealing and destroying an anti-abortion activist’s poster — and pushing and scratching the activist in the process — pleaded no contest Thursday morning to three misdemeanor charges….

Miller-Young will be sentenced on August 14 and will likely be ordered by Judge Brian Hill to pay a fine and restitution, perform community service, and attend anger management counseling. While her charges do carry the possibility of jail time, prosecutor Ron Zonen said he “would be surprised if [Hill] sentenced her to jail.” Miller-Young remains employed by UCSB….

For more on the incident, see this post and this post.

A “no contest” plea is the same as a guilty plea for criminal law purposes. But, unlike a guilty plea, a no contest plea to a misdemeanor is not an admission of liability for purposes of any future civil lawsuit, see Cal. Penal Code § 1016:

The court shall ascertain whether the defendant completely understands that a plea of nolo contendere shall be considered the same as a plea of guilty and that, upon a plea of nolo contendere, the court shall find the defendant guilty. The legal effect of such a plea, to a crime punishable as a felony, shall be the same as that of a plea of guilty for all purposes. In cases other than those punishable as felonies, the plea and any admissions required by the court during any inquiry it makes as to the voluntariness of, and factual basis for, the plea may not be used against the defendant as an admission in any civil suit based upon or growing out of the act upon which the criminal prosecution is based.

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
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Eugene Volokh · July 25, 2014