In California, public officials are those who have, or appear to the to have, substantial responsibility for or control over the conduct of government affairs. For example, the following persons have been considered public officials in California:
A police officer, an assistant public defender, an assistant district attorney, and a government employed social worker.
In California, to classify a person as a public figure, the person must have achieved such pervasive fame or notoriety that he becomes a public figure for all purposes and in all contexts. Someone who voluntarily seeks to influence resolution of public issues may also be considered a public figure in California. For example, the following persons have been considered public figures in California:
A former City Attorney who also represented the city's redevelopment agency;
A licensed clinical psychologist whose so-called “Nude Marathon” in group therapy is a means of helping people to shed their psychological inhibitions by the removal of their clothes;
An author and television personality;
The founder of a Church that has a program for the rehabilitation of drug addicts;
An associate of Howard Hughes, a famous aviator, movie producer, and billionaire, from approximately 1956 to 1970 who functioned as an "alter ego" and "personal representative" of Mr. Hughes;
A real-estate developer who was interested in building a housing development near a toxic chemical plant; and
A "prominent and outspoken feminist author" and anti-pornography advocate.
Limited-Purpose Public Figures