About 4pm, while grazing on a vacant lot, we were approached by Ventura City Police, who told us that they knew who we were, and if we stopped within city limits to sleep, it would be considered illegal camping, in which we would be arrested and the mules would be impounded. We moved from this location and were not cited.
November 12, 2014: Arrested by Thousand Oaks Police
This evening the Mules were resting in an open field in Thousand Oaks when a deputy told us we could not camp here. We told him that we were not camping, just staying the night. Since we would not move, I was arrested and jailed, and the mules were sent to Animal Services in Agoura Hills.
November 13, 2014: Released
Released from jail at no cost. The mules were released from animal services after paying $514 fee.
November 19, 2014: Ventura County Police encounter
About 4pm, while grazing on a vacant lot, we were approached by Ventura City Police, who told us that they knew who we were, and if we stopped within city limits to sleep, it would be considered illegal camping, in which we would be arrested and the mules would be impounded. We moved from this location and were not cited. We are in Ventura as we have a hearing for the Thousand Oaks citation at Superior Court of Ventura County in the morning.
November 20, 2014: Superior Court of Ventura County hearing
The Mules appeared at Superior Court of Ventura County charged with committing an infraction by violating Thousand Oaks Municipal Code Section 5-8.08(c): Unlawful Camping, a misdemeanor (criminal offense). This was reduced to an infraction Thousand Oaks Municipal Code Section 1-2.0I and is considered to be a PUBLIC NUISANCE. The fines were waived by the judge. The Mules walking all day peacefully, carrying and spreading the energy of reverence and respect for this beautiful earth and all its inhabitants have now been officially categorized by the Megatropolis as a PUBLIC NUISANCE. The automobile, the Megatropolis’ most valued tool, however, kills and maims hundreds of thousands every year. Killing children walking and riding their bicycles gets by. Nothing is said, no charges. The automobile will certainly never be called a PUBLIC NUISANCE.
November 6, 2014: U.S. District Court trial results
At the trial today at U.S. District Courthouse in Los Angeles, we were charged with 1) not obeying an order of a federal employee; and 2) camping in an undesignated area on national park land, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. We pleaded not guilty. We were found guilty on both charges with no imposed penalties or fines, but were assessed a $35 court fee.
11/6/2014 Trial Transcripts (click to read):
Mules getting some rest enjoying themselves in the background the United States Court House where they will go to on the morning of November 6, 2014 to answer the charge levied upon them by the National Park Service of illegal camping (stopping to sleep for the night).
Do we have a lawyer, a well prepared case? No.
What we have is the energy of this place of one human being and his or her animal companions wandering this beautiful plant through history going back thousands of years. The Mules will bring this energy to and into the courthouse. This energy and our connection to it is truly our defense. It is our wealth. It is the reason we live one step at a time, all day, every day.