Press Release

Cooley Pro Bono Trio Helps ACLU Defend Musician's Free Speech

January 18, 2013

San Diego, Calif. – January 18, 2013 – Working as co-counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Cooley LLP attorneys have secured a settlement with the city of Oceanside, California that ensures the fundamental right to engage in speech in a public forum.

Musician Mark Mayville was cited and found guilty of violating an Oceanside municipal code that banned any form of live music on any public sidewalk. In response, he enlisted help from the ACLU to challenge the City's noise ordinance as invalid under the First Amendment. After negotiations, the City issued interpretive guidance on its noise ordinance to permit non-disruptive musical performances on its streets and sidewalks. Despite this, Oceanside police continued to harass Mr. Mayville and threatened to detain him for purported violations of Oceanside's anti-solicitation, loitering, obstruction, and business license ordinances. 

In December, the ACLU and Cooley filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California asking the court to declare Oceanside's anti-solicitation, loitering, obstruction, and business license ordinances unconstitutional as applied to Mr. Mayville's musical performances. They also sought an injunction instructing city officials to discontinue enforcement of the ordinances against Mr. Mayville to prevent him from performing music. The city of Oceanside agreed to settle the case, and last week a district court judge approved a settlement that ensures the fundamental right to engage in speech in a public forum. 

The Cooley pro bono team for Mayville included partner Anthony Stiegler and associates Kraig Jennett and Shannon Sorrells.

View the ACLU press release here.

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