Historically, county district attorneys have demurred from pursuing legal action against University of California students in cases of alleged minor crimes and misdemeanors when these incidents occur on university property. Instead, they have appropriately elected to honor the well-enumerated due process procedures in place at each of the UC campuses.
In the case of the so-called "Irvine 11," UC Irvine officials promptly investigated charges that a small group of students disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. In this matter, UCI found the students in violation of campus policies and meted out punishments both against the individuals and their organization, the Muslim Student Union. Conventional wisdom and historical precedent would suggest that the matter had been handled appropriately.
The nagging question is why did Orange County District Atty. Tony Rackauckas feel compelled to jump on this case and, in so doing, assign his chief homicide prosecutor to vigorously pursue misdemeanor charges against 11 students with no prior records and who were clearly no threat to society?