Authorities arrest former Encinitas mayoral candidate

J.W. August

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a former Encinitas mayoral candidate on Christmas Day on suspicion of domestic violence.

Jeff Morris is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 9 for an arraignment, authorities said. He has not been ­­charged yet with any crime.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, Morris was arrested by deputies from the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station in Encinitas on suspicion of acts of violence and illegal restraint. The arrest was made at 7:19 p.m. on Dec. 25 in the 600 block of Poinsettia Park in Encinitas after authorities received a 911 call at 6:47 p.m., according to a Sheriff’s Department document.

Two elements of the arrest, noted on the Sheriff’s Department document, are described in the penal code of California as:

236 PC, false imprisonment, which like the other penal code charges is a misdemeanor unless violence, fraud or deceit was used, which then becomes a felony with more serious penalties including jail time.

273.5 (A) PC, which is an “act to injure a spouse, a cohabitant or fellow parent in an act of domestic violence.”

Steve Walker, spokesman for the District Attorney’s office, said Morris was booked and released on $50,000 bond. His arraignment will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 in North County Superior Court in Vista.

Walker added that the “case is under review for the filing of potential criminal charges. If/when we file charges, they would be announced at the arraignment.”

Morris’ attorney, Paul Neuharth, said the incident occurred when Morris tried to break up a family dispute.

“He didn’t hit anyone; he didn’t hurt anyone,” Neuharth said by phone.

Neuharth said he didn’t think any charges would be filed against his client nor did he believe the district attorney had made a decision yet, as the detective investigating the case was still awaiting reports from the incident.

Morris, also reached by phone, said Neuharth advised him not to speak about the case until after the arraignment.

“I will have more to say then,” Morris said.

He added that he is in the fourth year of his effort as “a whistleblower like Erin Brockovich” regarding issues he has uncovered in the city.

During the mayor’s race, Morris, who finished third, accused eventual winner and current Mayor Tony Kranz and his supporters of corruption. They and others, in turn, described Morris’ language in the mayoral campaign as venomous and vitriolic.

J.W. August is a longtime San Diego broadcast and digital journalist.

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