San Diego and Protestor Settle Lawsuit

The city of San Diego recently settled a lawsuit filed against it for unlawful arrest. Said lawsuit began two years ago when an animal rights protestor was arrested. Elizabeth Ann Jacobelly, 50, of San Diego had been protesting the treatment of elephants by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

On August 26th, 2012, she was arrested outside of the former San Diego Sports Arena (today’s Valley View Casino Center). Security guards originally approached Jacobelly about her protest against alleged mistreatment of the elephants and then put her under citizen’s arrest.

However, things later escalated when police arrived. The San Diego Police Department then put Jacobelly under arrest on suspicion of refusing to leave a privately operated business premise that was located on public property.

At first, the Superior Court found the protestor guilty of two infractions. However, an appellate court later overturned these rulings on the grounds that Jacobelly was peacefully picketing, which is protected by the municipal code.

Things didn’t end there though. With the convictions overturned, Todd Cardiff and Bryan Pease, both attorneys who work for the Animal Protection and Rescue League, then sued the city of San Diego for damages.

Two years after the original arrest, the legal battle has finally come to an end. San Diego’s attorney’s office, as well a representative from their risk management office, agreed to a settlement this past Wednesday. The agreement will award Jacobelly $15,000 in exchange for the lawsuit being dropped along with any future claims against San Diego.

Interestingly, the resolution came a day before the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey began another eight-show run here in San Diego, at the same location where Jacobelly was last arrested.

No matter what type of crime you’re accused of, never forget the importance of a qualified attorney. If Jacobelly had not had proper legal representation, she could still have two convictions on her record as opposed to $15,000 in the bank.