Supervisors let picketing law stand

The Valley Chronicle, California/September 18, 2009

With no issues arising from Riverside County's new law restricting the picketing of private homes, the board of supervisors Wednesday left the law intact, despite continuing opposition from critics of the Church of Scientology.

No issues have arisen, said a report from Sheriff Stanley Sniff because there have been no activities that invoked a police response.

"Since the enactment of the ordinance, there have not been any situations where the ordinance has been utilized," Sniff said in a written report to the supervisors. "In situations where picketing has occurred, the Sheriff's Department has found the usage of existing penal code violations more appropriate."

In response to a request from Supervisor Bob Buster to determine whether the issue could be addressed through court restraining orders, Sniff issued a memo saying that the circumstances would determine whether such a response would be appropriate.

Buster's inquiry was based on a University of California case in which the board of regents asked for a court order barring such activity as harassing employees and students involved in animal research, trespassing on their property, vandalizing their homes and personal property, and similar activity.

Sniff said penal code provisions could handle some situations, but aggrieved parties would have to get court orders barring some activity.

The Sheriff's Department could enforce the court order, Sniff's memo said. The board neither withdrew nor modified the law.

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