By Jim Shilander
An Orange County Superior Court has ruled in favor of former San Clemente Police Chief Bill Hunt, restoring Hunt’s rank and back pay after a coordinated retaliation campaign directed against him by former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona.
Hunt, who ran against Carona for Orange County Sheriff in 2006, had been demoted from lieutenant to deputy as a result of the campaign and resigned his position as chief of Police Services. After leaving the Sheriff’s Department, Hunt founded his own private investigation firm. As part of the ruling, he was also given back pay, as well as reimbursement of attorney fees.
Hunt ran for the office again in 2010. During his over 21-year career, he also patrolled Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano in the late 1980s and early ‘90s when the cities shared police services.
San Clemente City Manager George Scarborough said the city itself does not face any jeopardy as a result of the ruling.
“Sheriff Hutchens’ administration had no part in the disciplinary actions taken against Lt. Hunt,” said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Amormino. “The actions described by the court’s ruling were undertaken by Sheriff Carona and his former administration. The county is reviewing the court’s ruling and weighing its various options.”