The Coast News Group
Former Encinitas mayoral candidate Jeff Morris is facing several felony domestic violence charges. Screenshot
Former Encinitas mayoral candidate Jeff Morris is facing several felony domestic violence charges. Screenshot

Former mayoral candidate arrested on domestic violence charges

ENCINITAS — A former Encinitas mayoral candidate was arrested Christmas Day on suspicion of felony domestic violence, law enforcement confirmed to The Coast News. 

Jeff Charles Morris, who finished third with 6,969 votes in November’s mayoral race, was detained at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 25 at his residence in the 600 block of Poinsettia Park in Encinitas, according to Sheriff’s Department Lt. Chris Lawrence.

Morris potentially faces several felony charges, including inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant and two charges related to unlawful restraint of an individual using violence. Lawrence confirmed that Morris was booked into county jail on Christmas and released the following day on a $50,000 bond. 

Details of the incident are not available at this time due to the sensitivity afforded to domestic violence cases, Lawrence said. Morris is scheduled for a Jan. 9 arraignment. The District Attorney’s office has not yet decided to file charges. 

According to a subsequent Times of San Diego article, Morris and his attorney said the incident involved a dispute between his wife and a 23-year-old daughter when Morris tried to break up the argument.

“He didn’t hit anyone; he didn’t hurt anyone” Neuharth told Times of San Diego.

Morris is a longtime resident and has founded several online political advocacy groups, including Encinitas Watchdogs and North County Citizens Coalition, or NC3. Among other things, Morris has been a vocal critic of the city’s Safe Parking Lot program for the unhoused, which he believes has further exacerbated drug abuse, crime and homelessness in the community.

The Coast News attempted to contact Morris for comment but received no response in time for publication. This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE: This story includes statements from Morris’ attorney, Paul Neuharth, to the Times of San Diego.

For the latest crime reports in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, please visit The Coast News’ Weekly Crime Reports. For up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County, check out Daily Arrest Logs. Read more local crime news here.


[email protected] January 6, 2023 at 10:42 am

The Times of San Diego article at the link below, which popped up on my Edge browser this morning, is actually much better written than this one. First, it points out that Morris got 25% of the vote for Mayor, with another competitor getting 25%. It doesn’t disguise that information by using the meaningless “69xx” number. Second, it actually includes a response by Morris and his attorney, including the information that Morris did not physically attack anyone. Your article leaves the reader with images of defenseless, abused family members sitting in shelters with black eyes. Very unfair.

Many consider what happened at the Morris household a private family Christmas tragedy, rather than “news”. But since you did break the story, at least try to be fair. You protect the identity of the person who lost her bid for a restraining order, and the identity of said Coast News staff member, but not the privacy of the Morrises. You do not mention that those other actors, whose anonymity you protect, figured prominently in the election whose results – 47%-25%-25% in themselves tell a story. Your article makes insinuations which the Times of San Diego article disabuses us of.

Hopefully next week Morris will be judged fairly on the merits, unswayed by the court of public opinion, politics and articles like this.

Lou Tappet January 9, 2023 at 2:56 pm

The “tragedy” became news the minute those aware of Morris’ many threats against residents heard of it. His behavior is not, as Kirnak has stated in the past, a benign case of how Morris expresses himself. And Kirnak uses rounding to claim erroneously that both Morris and Cremona got the same percentage of votes. Cremona received 25.52% and Morris 24.54.

Lou Tappet December 30, 2022 at 9:42 am

Lots of irregularities with the commissioner and her connections. That should absolutely be investigated and disclosed. Hope we see follow up reporting on this developing story.

rachel December 29, 2022 at 5:46 pm

It was not a judge, rather a commissioner, who failed to grant the restraining order. A commissioner who previously worked for Morris’ attorney as a paralegal.

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