Terminated San Clemente Coach May Get Retirement Bonus

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Our country is built on the foundation of justice, also known as "innocent until proven guilty". So when people are up in arms about a San Clemente High School head coach being eligible for a retirement bonus even though he's been "recommended for termination."

Also a former English teacher at the high school, Eric Patton remains on the district's payroll-pending a final decision before the state's Office of Administrative Hearings. His appeal isn't likely to be decided before June 30, when the retirement bonus is set to be distributed.

Patton has been accused, in termination reports, of "accepting bribes from a sporting equipment company, knowingly defrauding and stealing thousands of dollars from the school district, and violating at least nine state and federal laws," according to the Orange County Register. In an interview with the newspaper last fall, Patton vigorously denied any wrongdoing and explained his belief that the spending credits (the district termed them as "stolen funds") did not come from taxpayer money and that he never used them for personal benefit.

Although Patton was fired from San Clemente High School on February 27, it will probably take six months to one year for it to be heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings, according to Orange County Department of Education attorney Ronald Wenkart.

The Capistrano Unified School District only has the authority to "initiate" termination proceedings, and the final decision lies with the state panel, so while the case is pending, Patton is still officially employed by the district.

So why shouldn't Patton get his retirement bonus when he is legally eligible? He has not been tried or found guilty of the alleged crimes, so he is still technically innocent. Ask yourself how you would feel in Patton's position-you haven't been able to defend yourself in court, yet there are those who are trying to deprive you of something because of the charges against you.

What do you think about this? The whole article can be found here. Should they give Patton the bonus? Or should they withhold it until after the hearing? Or should they give it to him on the stipulation that he has to return the money if he is found guilty? Please let us know in the comments how you feel about Patton, the school district's position, and the state of education in California today.

At the Law Offices of Glew & Kim, we see all clients as innocent until proven guilty, and believe in equal justice for all. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crime and needs honest, unbiased defense, please call us immediately on 866-416-2161 or use our online form for a free case analysis.

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This is not an attorney-client communication, and as such no advice is being offered in this article. Any and all communications related to the Glew & Kim Law website and MarijuanaLawyer.com website should be deemed and considered advertisement. This article is purely opinion, and the basis of this and any opinion was formed subject to the reporting by the actual news agencies, the information from which was used as source material.

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