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San Diego County Digest

San Diego : Woman Guilty of Disrupting Council Meeting

December 15, 1987

Making what it called "an unhappy decision," a jury convicted Roselyn Switzen, also known as Rose Lynne, of disrupting a City Council meeting.

San Diego Municipal Judge Robert Stahl set sentencing on the misdemeanor conviction for Wednesday. She could face six months in jail plus a $1,000 fine.

Rose Lynne, 73, went back on the stand Monday morning and testified that she knows the City Council's rules and regulations "by heart."

At issue was whether she disrupted the Jan. 13 meeting after Mayor Maureen O'Connor told her her time was up. A tape recording of the meeting was played in court in which Rose Lynne was heard shouting at O'Connor.

The jury forewoman, Yolanda Jefferson, said jurors voted reluctantly during their 50 minutes of deliberations to convict her.

"We made an unhappy decision. None of us felt good about it," Jefferson said. "She is a brilliant person. She just has to follow the rules like everyone else."

"It was so cut and dried. She broke the rule. You could tell (on the tape) she did take over a minute," juror Jean Kidwell said.

Rose Lynne's attorney, Sandy Downen, argued Monday that the issue was freedom of speech.

"She does have some good ideas to give to the City Council," Downen said.

Downen likened Rose Lynne's relationship with the council to a marriage that has "its ups and downs." She said the City Council has always let her speak.

Deputy City Atty. James Chapin in his rebuttal agreed that the issue was freedom of speech. He said that, because that freedom is valued, time restrictions are placed on speakers so everyone can speak.

"Without having laws like this, the City Council will not be able to enforce the rules of conduct," Chapin argued.

"There's no question there is a violation of the law. It's simply a matter of common courtesy and respect for the rights of others."

Rose Lynne remains free on her own recognizance on the misdemeanor offense.

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