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UCSB Professor Pleads No Contest in Theft, Battery Case


Originally published 12:00 p.m., July 24, 2014
Updated 2:30 p.m., July 24, 2014
Dr. Mireille Miller-Young
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Dr. Mireille Miller-Young

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.

Dr. Mireille Miller-Young had originally pleaded not guilty to grand theft, vandalism, and battery. She hasn't been required to attend any of her court hearings and was again absent on Thursday. She's represented by defense attorney Catherine Swysen, who has declined repeated requests for comment.

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. Video of the incident is posted below.

Katie Short, mother of the 16-year-old activist Miller-Young accosted and the legal director for the Life Legal Defense Foundation, issued a statement Thursday afternoon. “Today’s plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case,” she said. “Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions.”

Last week, Short and the Life Legal Defense Foundation threatened to sue the City of Santa Barbara unless it amends its “bubble ordinance” restricting free speech rights near the entrance of Planned Parenthood, churches, and medical clinics. Short has argued that the city's ordinance runs afoul of a recent Supreme Court ruling on buffer zones in Massachusetts.

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