Dietrick slams judge’s ruling as judicial misinterpretation

July 9, 2012

Christine Dietrick


Frustrated by a judge’s ruling that bars San Luis Obispo police from ticketing homeless people sleeping in their vehicles, the city council Tuesday will consider an emergency ordinance seeking a way to continue the practice. City Attorney Christine Dietrick called San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall’s decision “judicial misinterpretation.”

The city attorney is recommending council adoption of an emergency ordinance adding to the health, safety and welfare section of the city’s municipal code, which would specifically allow police to immediately restart its program of ticketing sleeping homeless.

To a clause in the present ordinance that reads, “Existing and new structures should reflect adopted safety standards,” Dietrick wants to add new language in order “to prevent the immediate threats to the public health, safety, and welfare associated with the conduct of living in vehicles in unsuitable areas within the city, including on local public streets.”

Dietrick has not yet produced a staff report or draft ordinance for public review. Instead, Dietrick says she will make the staff report and draft ordinance available prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

In April, local attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins filed a lawsuit accusing the city of San Luis Obispo and the chief of police of discrimination, harassment and the criminalization of homeless people because of its January-enacted plan to ticket homeless using a 30-year-old development ordinance prohibiting people from living in vehicles on private property.

Rizzo and Jenkins also noted that a vehicle code ordinance implemented by Santa Barbara that prohibits people from sleeping in their cars and RVs on city streets was deemed illegal by an appellate court because of insufficient signage. In San Luis Obispo, there is no signage prohibiting people from sleeping in vehicles.

In May, Judge Crandall took motions from both the city and the attorneys for the homeless residents under submission, and urged the city to voluntarily refrain from issuing citations while the issue was under discussion. The city elected instead to ramp up its late night raids.

Last week, Crandall granted Jenkins and Rizzo a preliminary injunction that prohibits police from ticketing homeless who sleep in their vehicles until the end of the trial noting the city’s unconstitutional treatment of the homeless.

“In addition to using an enforcement strategy that appears to be singling out poor and homeless people for harsher treatment, the court is very uneasy with the specific manner in which the police have apparently been enforcing Standard 015 and issuing criminal citations,” Crandall said. “These methods include but are not limited to, the use of late-night police forays needlessly utilizing flashing lights, blaring horns, intimidation, threats and other scare tactics.”

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Isn’t this the same attorney who screwed up the case against the firefighter? Her energies seem very misdirected.

Whoa !!!

I agree with the the posters. Dietrick was foolish to slap the Judge with such language. It never pays to dishonor … “your honor.”

Maybe she should save that type of disrespect for the Judge who she may have to stand in front of, in the event that she is brought up on charges related to the cover up concerning the haz mat spill at the City Corp Yard.

Lets see how much she like to pop off in that type of situation. Can you just imagine her getting led off in cuffs and screaming “this is a judicial misinterprtation”

Judicial misrepresentation? How more convoluted could it have been stated ? This leads me to seriously question Dietrick’s legal qualifications. Where did she get her law degree ? Oral Roberts , Liberty, Regent ?

She has done everything to alienate the judicial process and escalate tensions. Look how it is reported here: Judge Crandall in May was very diplomatic in not immediately issuing a direct order, but requested the city to relax while the issue was being looked at.

Instead, she basically flipped off Judge Crandall by intensifying ticketing.

Now, she apparently thinks she can just go around and ignore a ruling.

Perhaps Attorneys Rizzo and Jenkins now have a case for probable cause for a lawsuit against this individual, as these acts of harrassment could be determined to be malicious, punitive, and just plain mean.

It is obvious that Dietrick has no respect for judicial process. Sorry, but you can’t always get what you want – sometimes you lose in court and you just have to suck it up! It is ridiculous that she feels that an “emergency ordinance” to “immediately restart” the ticketing program. People were sleeping in their cars for years and there were no problems, but now the sky is falling and the world will end unless we stop these evil car sleepers!

As others have pointed out, this attorney seems not too bright. Antagonize the judge, not once, but now twice! Geez, what’s she think she’s doing?

Also, there’s the Brown Act, which requires proper notification of items on the council agenda. Dietrick has no ordinance to show the public or press at the end of the week. But “Dietrick says she will make the staff report and draft ordinance available prior to Tuesday’s meeting.” Uh, huh. That violates the 72-hours notice rule. Sorry, Dietrick, but this is an “emergency” only in your own mind — you can’t recast ordinary daily business as an “emergency”, especially when the only conceivable emergency is a judge’s injunction against you for doing exactly what you propose to do under your “emergency” ordinance! How deep is she going to dig herself and the city into this hole? Apparently fairness, doing the right thing, and public process are all damned at slocityhall, only thing that counts is making the bidness community happy.

By the way, despite all the publicity a few months back about the good city administrative types giving up pay and car allowances, she kept hers. That was right in the fine print none of our sterling local reporters bothered to read when they repeated Katie Lichtig’s flatulent press release about administrative pay cuts (nonexistent) and giving up car allowances. Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie — you know the tune.

Now, can we all just shut up and get back to being happy in the happiest place on earth?

I was told by a gent who does not park and sleep in his RV in Santa Barbara because, there, it is a $500 ticket. The unintended consequences of anything goes may include a new class of immigrants to San Luis Obispo County having little to do with dogs and cats, simply put, affordable city streets and better yet, new local taxes for the needed public restrooms.

Possibly because of those in charge in Santa Barbara, none of them have a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, sigificant other, or other term, wanting the power or needing the position.

Won’t Dietrick have to appear before Judge Crandall as this case proceeds? Will she be telling him in court that he simply didn’t understand? I wonder how he’ll feel about this end-run around his ruling.

Way to go! Piss off the guy who holds your fate in his hands.

And this is what we gave her a raise for. Between citing people for their front yard garbage cans, not feeding the ducks, and not sleeping in their vehicles, you are really showing the Council what a fantastic do something lawyer you are. Go get a job in the real world and we citizens will remember this come election time and certainly when you come back and ask for the continued sales tax. This is how you are spending our tax dollars, so big of you, Sleeze bags!

Christine, do you also kick cats and dogs and slap babies? For the hard on you have for the homeless I have to wonder.

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