In response to illegal arrest of voter registrar, Occupy San Diego activists vow to return to Plaza and do more voter registration.

by on November 30, 2011 · 14 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular, San Diego

At 7:30 pm sharp last night, several lawyers associated with Occupy San Diego denounced the arrest yesterday afternoon of Ray Lutz by San Diego police as he was registering people to vote.  Lutz had set up a table in the private property area of Civic Center Plaza and was proceeding to register new voters when he was taken into custody for “trespass”.

The lawyers, other supporters and activists of the movement vowed to return today – Wednesday, Nov. 30th – to continue to register new voters.  They plan to begin at 10:00 a.m.   This was announced last night just before the nightly General Assembly.

Lutz was well within his legal rights to register voters on a section of private property that is open to the public. In California, at least, a person soliciting signatures, handing out fliers, doing voter registration can go where the public is invited, even if on “private” property. So, for instance, someone like Ray Lutz can go into a mall and legally solicit political views, donations, and signatures. As the malls have taken over California and the country they’ve become the new “main streets” or main squares for cities and communities. So, municipalities cannot privatize space that is open to the public.  Lutz here is absolutely in his legal rights to do what he tried to do.  And the arrest is illegal, unconstitutional, and opens the City up to legal suits – another waste of taxpayers’ money by Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Lutz is an east county Democratic Party activist. Here is a portion of a very good article about his arrest and comments from legal experts from the East County Magazine:

Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, called the arrest a violation of Title 42, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents the state from denying voting rights, as well as the First Amendment constitutional right to free speech.

 “Every San Diegan, whether the most conservative Republican or the most liberal Democrat, should be concerned that someone registering voters could be arrested on the city’s civic plaza because Republicans and Democrats register voters there, as do all parties,” Aguirre said. “This is the most constitutionally protected activity that you can engage in.”

 Aguirre said registering voters is a protected activity on both public and private property open to the public. “In this case, it is so obvious that this person was singled out for political beliefs,” he said. “This kind of excess really gives us the opportunity to draw people’s attention to the dangers of a police state…Is there any member of the City Council that’s going to speak out?”

For the remainder of this article, please go here.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jack Hamlin November 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

Frank, I went to New Zealand for ten days and spoke to the folk in Occupy Wellington. You will be amazed at the difference in the police response in the other land down under….I should have a write up for the Rag shortly….

Peace, Jack


avatar top Doug November 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

If the only legal authority anyone can get for this arrest benig illegal is Mike Aguirre, good luck with that. Aguirre’s batting average is well below the Mendoza line.

This statement is simply untrue: “In California, at least, a person soliciting signatures, handing out fliers, doing voter registration can go where the public is invited, even if on “private” property.” That is not a correct statement of the law. If it was, you would see signature seekers INSIDE supermarkets, rather than outside.


avatar Frank Gormlie November 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Mike Aguirre is not the only authority that this arrest was unconstitutional. The other authority is the California Supreme Court, which also makes state law, as enunciated in the Pruneyard case (I don’t have the full title or citations here), and decided by the Calif Supreme Court. I was assuming that you knew I meant outdoors, sorry about that. Other than that, I stand by my statement as a general statement of the law, not as a statement in court – which I didn’t think that I was in – . Yes, because malls have taken over the people’s public space in becoming the new main street, town square, or public plaza, the law allows citizens to do politics in the public areas of those malls (outside).


avatar john connelly November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm


you can stand INSIDE a mall without being INSIDE the stores just as you can stand INSIDE a shopping plaza without being INSIDE an actual supermarket. Most public property is privately owned with the condition that it must be available for the public’s use…

and the great thing about laws is that laws are not absolute but rather open to interpretation…


avatar top Doug December 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

and the great thing about laws is that laws are not absolute but rather open to interpretation…

John, Really? That philosophy may be a great way to end up spending X-mas in jail.


avatar RasMarcus November 30, 2011 at 9:18 am

No doubt Ray has also looked up court cases related to maximum payouts for damages resulting from wrongful arrest and imprisonment by a citizens arrest.

The General Liability insurance coverage for Civic Center Plaza building will cover at least $1,000,000 as a settlement, and will quickly give 15k to 25k as a quick out-of-court settlement through mandatory mediation.

In other words, Ray just got paid!

If you are you out of work, and could you use $15,000 in cash, you too should set up a voter registration table outside the Civic Center Plaza building, AND GET PAID TOO!


avatar top Doug November 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

I also supect that there is a Municipal Ordinace that prohibits solicitation under these circumstances.


avatar dorndiego November 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thank you Mike Aguirre; it’s good to hear that mind at work, again.
The police across the nation, with few exceptions, are being left the
role of governance — not what they have been trained to
perform — while we’re paying council members to shut their mouths
and disappear until the next election.
And thank you many times, Ray Lutz.


avatar top Doug November 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

“That mind” sounds like “Flight of the Bumblebee”. Turn it off!! Please


avatar doug porter November 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

at least Aguierre claims to have gone to law school. and, as it happens here, he’s right. the cops know that. i heard SDPD officers admit that; today, at the Concourse. they’re hoping that they can squeeze by on the technicality of a table being used.


avatar Joe Ryan December 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Are those the same SD cops who sit on the appellate court? I can’t stop reading the OB blog. You guys post some funny shit. He needs to convince the court a plaza surrounding a private building is the equivalent of a mall (good luck with that). The jury won’t have much to do. This case will be decided on a point of law. The jurors hands will be tied one way after the main issue of law is decided. A thorough analysis of the applicable law enabled me to destroy Dumanis in a jury trial after she tried to stop me from exercising my lawful rights. Of course, as you know Doug, Mike and Frank could only dream of authoring a jury brief that would enable them to get the jury instructions they would need to beat Dumanis in a jury trial@.


avatar Big Finance Capital Exposed December 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Juries are under no duty to enforce criminal laws.

That’s the one point of truth the system doesn’t want the serfs to figure out.

Since the criminals who hijacked our Constitutional Republic won’t enforce the laws, the Founding Fathers expect the citizen juries to start doing it.

Ooooh, if the serfs ever figured this out…


avatar Anna Daniels November 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm

This issue picked up on Rachel Maddow’s blog
Back here in SD, some of the council offices I called don’t know what happened and are waiting for the police written briefing, which generally takes a few days. And no, I am not making that up.


avatar Joe Ryan December 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Comment removed by admin, refer to our Comment Policy

Joe Ryan, I’m censoring you because you’re pretty damned rude. ~Patty


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