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Idaho Mother Charged for Holding Yard Sale During Shutdown Arraigned in Court

By • August 4, 2020

On April 17th Christa Thompson of Rathdrum was holding a yard sale at her home.

The Rathdrum police showed up at the Thompson’s home and cited her for violating Governor Little’s ‘stay-at-home’ order.

Christa faces a misdemeanor charge which carries a potential fine and jail time. Her husband Peter was not charged even though he was at the home during his wife’s citation.

Today, Christa is being arraigned in court and her attorney, Edward Dindinger, is seeking a motion to dismiss the case.

The couple claims they were trying to get rid of items that were passed down from a family member who had just passed away.

Peter said his father had died just weeks before the yard sale and because Peter was an only child, he was left with all his father’s belongings.

Peter told the Idaho Freedom Foundation back in April that his father could have been on the show “Hoarders” he had so much stuff. The couple took many of the belongings owned by Peter’s father and had a yard sale to help pay bills and to get rid of some of the stuff Peter’s father owned.

The couple and their six children had begun selling items at the yard sale in early April.

However, a yard sale was not considered “essential” under Governor Little’s ‘stay-at-home’ order.

According to the Rathdrum Police Department, they say officers visited the couple’s home three times prior to issuing them the citation.

Here is a description of what the Rathdrum Police Department says happened over the course of several weeks:

Officers were on scene on April 9, 2020 when the owner asked if the yard sale was in violation of the Governor’s orders. The officer educated the homeowner that the yard sale was in violation of the Governor’s stay-at-home-order, and they were admonished not to have the yard sale. A copy of the Governor’s order was given at this time.

On April 10, 2020 a second officer reported that the homeowner will remove the yard sale signs and that they were only “sorting items” in the yard and not having a yard sale.

On April 13, 2020 a posting on Craig’s List stated that the homeowners were having a yard sale at their residence. An officer approached the family and reminded them that they were in violation of the Governor’s order. He then issued them a written warning.

On April 17, 2020 the Rathdrum Police returned to the home. A large quantity of items were still out in the front yard and sales transactions were occurring while police were present.

It was on the fourth visit that police say they issued the citation for violation of the order.

The Rathdrum Police Department Defended the decision to cite Christa Thompson.

Part of their Facebook post from Police Chief Tomi McLean reads in part,

The Rathdrum Police Department attempted to educate and warn prior to issuing a citation. Rathdrum PD has also received several complaints from the public in regard to the yard sale. This was a large non-essential yard sale that filled the entire front yard and spilled into the back yard as well. These yard sale items could be seen from Highway 41.

Edward Dindinger, the family’s attorney, said he hoped the state would drop the charges.

The state did not drop the charges and today Christa is in court.

Dindinger posted on his Facebook account about the case and what his law firm says they are trying to do,

The State has elected to go ahead and arraign our client, Mrs. Christa Thompson, the mother-of-six charged with violating the “Order to Self-Isolate for the State of Idaho” by holding a yard sale on her own property, at the Kootenai County Courthouse today at 3:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. MT. She remains the only person in the state to be criminally charged for violating the Order.

Therefore, I have filed a motion and memorandum to dismiss the case. The memorandum may seem long; I actually kept out some arguments to avoid the appearance of “kitchen-sinking” or being petty. But, folks, the State’s position is really just that absurd.

We will keep our readers updated on what happens with this case as it unfolds.

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Tags: Christa Thompson, Citation, Edward Dindinger, Peter Thompson, Rathdrum, Tomi McLean

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