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Federal Appeals Court Rules that Jon Buckheit Doesn't Have to Pay County's Legal Fees

Original post made by Federal Court Decision, Atherton: other, on May 21, 2014

From the Mercury News today:

Headline: "Court: Atherton Resident Doesn't Have to Pay County's Legal Fees For Fighting His Suit"


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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a man who lost his civil rights lawsuit against San Mateo County, Atherton and several of the town's police officers doesn't have to pay the county $145,434 in attorneys' fees.

In his suit, Atherton resident Jon Buckheit contended that San Mateo County and Atherton conspired to violate his rights by withholding a copy of a police report regarding his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. A federal judge concluded the suit was frivolous and ordered him to pay the county's legal fees rung up in fighting it.

Buckheit appealed both rulings last year.

Though it agreed with the federal judge that there was no conspiracy, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Buckheit shouldn't have to pay the county's legal fees, because it doesn't want people to be discouraged from filing civil rights lawsuits.

In an email Tuesday, Buckheit said he was pleased with the decision, particularly since he believed the county had "highly inflated" its costs.


The County was supposed to have turned over a breakdown to show legal expenditures, but they have not.

I like the Court's statement that they don't want to send a message that would discourage people from filing civil lawsuits.

Surprised there's nothing on this from the Almanac. Weren't they the ones who first reported the Buckheit lawsuit way back when?

Comments (4)

Like this comment
Posted by Federal Court Decision
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

The Mercury News left out that it was Mr. Buckheit who placed the 911 call to the police - NOT the woman.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2014 at 7:01 am

Citizens should thank Jon Buckheit for Never wavering. Until it happens to you, you will not fully comprehend what happened here.

Prosecutorial Misconduct for example: What should have happened the day District Attorney Steve Wagsataffe had personal knowledge of a crime committed against Jon Buckheit by an Atherton Police Officer.

Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I agree, Michael.

This was a SHAMEFUL abuse of power by our government. While Mr. Buckheit will not have to pay the Town's legal fees (which itself was an outrageous ruling), in terms of money, emotion and reputation, this was a very expensive episode for one of our citizens.

That Mr. Buckheit was declared factually innocent by the courts makes this entire chapter that much more egregious.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm

This is also why it is so important for citizens to pay attention to our Judges, right now we have some contested races
Ray and Jeff are not endorsed by the rest of the Judges, you have to ask why would so many judges come out and endorsed a Judge candidate……..Wake up get involved and Vote

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