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Governor Gavin Newsom through Executive Order N-33-20 made the determination that all Californians had to stay-at-home amid the pandemic. Effective as of March 19, the state was essentially shut-down. Now, weeks later, with businesses shut down, massive job losses, and increasing unrest, some people are ignoring the order and hitting the streets.

Naomi Soria, 27, is one of these Californians who openly opposes the stay-at-home order so much so she organized a protest in downtown San Diego. Soria, along with hundreds of other protestors, congregated on Saturday afternoon in front of the Hall of Justice demonstrating during a “Freedom Rally.” Now Soria is facing a legal battle as she is being threatened with potential misdemeanor charges for organizing and ignoring the governor’s order. With the misdemeanor charges, she is possibly facing 90 days in jail as well as a pricey $1,000 fine.

According to the SDPD, Soria is the only one of the hundreds of protestors that demonstrated to have a case submitted to the city attorney’s office. A spokesperson for the SDPD explained that because she was the organizer of the rally, she was in violation of the stay-at-home order. Soria remains defiant as she continues to exercise her constitutional rights arguing that she is protected by “all the amendments.”

The Center for American Liberty (CAL), a nonprofit organization is providing legal representation to Naomi Soria. This organization is also active in its efforts to oppose the public health order. CAL filed a lawsuit against Gov. Newsom because the order prohibited in-person church services.

Soria plans to continue to hold protests despite the threat of charges. The SDPD said they are aware of the future gatherings and have indicated that if they do take place, they may recommend additional charges be brought against her.

Are There Individuals Who Oppose These Freedom Demonstrations?

There are individuals and groups that oppose Soria’s efforts. The belief is that there should have been citations given to the protestors who ignored the orders of not gathering in large groups and not staying six feet apart. 

Some religious leaders also questioned the authorities’ response to the gathering. They wanted to know why protestors were allowed to gather without penalty while churches will be penalized if they have in-person church services. The SDPD has responded by saying that although the events were not prevented from happening, there would still be legal repercussions, specifically for the organizers of the demonstrations.

Get the Help You Need From a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

Soria’s legal team is aggressively defending her right to participate in constitutionally protected activities such as the right to assemble and the right to petition the government. Soria’s actions have put her in violation of Code 8665 because she willingly neglects to obey the public health order. Continue reading

Three people ignoring California’s stay-at-home order and violating the beach closures were arrested. According to Lt., Amber Baggs of the San Diego Country Sheriff’s Department, the three individuals were participating in a rally held at Moonlight Beach. 

When authorities encountered people walking along the beach they told them about the county public health order. While the deputies were explaining the situation, the individuals who were violating the order just sat down. The deputies provided the protestors with multiple opportunities to comply but they refused and as a result, were put under arrest.

Others in the group of protestors broke apart and headed toward Swami’s Beach Park where they eventually left the area and were not subject to legal action by the authorities. The protest was organized by Crista Anne Curtis, and she called the event “The Surf’s Up Shred the Tidal Wave of Tyranny” protest. This was the second event that Curtis organized. 

In addition to this beach protest, there was another one planned at the Pacific Beach lifeguard station by a different activist. Naomi Soria, who had previously organized a similar march in downtown San Diego, used social media to get the word out about the event. She called her planned beach protest “A Day of Liberty San Diego Freedom Rally.”

Effective March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 declared a state of emergency in California and directed all Californians to stay at home. Soria is looking at charges brought forth by the San Diego Police Department to the city attorney’s office for violating Code 8665.

What is Code 8665?

Code 8665 states that if an individual willfully disobeys any provisions or lawful orders and regulations by the state they will be guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted of the misdemeanor charges, they will be fined up to $1,000, or they may be sent to prison for up to six months. In some situations, they can face both the fine and imprisonment.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans freedom of religion, speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly, and the right to petition the government. The public health order infringes on the right to assembly, but there are many legal minds that believe the courts would side with the public health order. The government has vast, and expansive powers during a public health crisis.

While others say there is a significant difference between requiring an infected person to be quarantined versus wide-spread demands that healthy, low-risk individuals also essentially be quarantined. Mass lockdowns encroaches on American’s most fundamental rights as well as the freedom to move and travel. 

Have You Been Charged With a Misdemeanor in San Diego?

Since all of California is still under the stay-at-home order, it is becoming more and more common for residents of the state to want their freedoms back. Incidents were stepping out to enjoy the beach or to congregate in large groups is being monitored by the authorities and threats of arrest or actual detentions are on the rise. If you have been arrested for violation of Code 8665, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje immediately. Continue reading

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