Trial date delayed in case against former Encinitas mayoral candidate

J.W. August

A trial date remains to be set regarding domestic violence charges involving a former Encinitas mayoral candidate.

Jeff Charles Morris was charged by the District Attorney’s Office in January with three counts involving an act of domestic violence that authorities allege he committed against his wife on Christmas Day.

A preliminary hearing had originally been set for Feb. 8 with a trial to follow starting possibly Feb. 14. However, the trial date has been continued and a readiness hearing set for March 8, according to San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Communications Director Steve Walker.

Morris, 56, was a 2022 candidate for mayor whose accusations against the City Council, mayor and candidates were controversial and heated at times. He finished third in last November’s election.

When interviewed previously about the domestic violence arrest by deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department North Coastal Station, Morris said he was trying to break up a ruckus between his wife and daughter, who was visiting for the holidays. And he hinted that there was more to his arrest than he cared to discuss at the time.

The District Attorney’s Office charging document lays out what that office believes Morris did to his wife, Kimberly Morris. It lists three misdemeanor counts, each showing a possible year in jail per count, alleging he used force, inflicted corporal injury and committed an act of false imprisonment against his wife.

Attempts to do a follow-up interview with Morris after the filing of the charges were unsuccessful, as the phone numbers to reach Morris did not appear to be working.

Previous calls made to Morris for an interview were answered at a phone number listed for two of his businesses.

In speaking to Morris on the phone the first time, he said he was confident that the district attorney would not file any charges. Morris said at the time that he wasn’t sure why he was arrested.

His attorney, Paul Neuharth, said in an earlier interview that he was also confident no charges would be filed, saying that he believed they were not warranted. He said his client did not hurt his wife and, in fact, Morris “didn’t hurt anyone.”

Neuharth was asked for further comment since the District Attorney’s Office filed charges, but his office declined. An assistant to Neuharth said he would be “more than willing to discuss the case after the trial.”

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

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