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.
We stayed here last night outside of Dixon. Enjoyed the Vacaville heat and the cool steady breeze coming from somewhere. Short day but an enjoyable one with the mules. Making our way to San Francisco to bring the message / energy to City Hall that there must be a trail system in this state and country going north south east and west passed by congress with federal funding and the same effort used to build the interstate freeway system. The Mules belong to and carry the collective energy of millions of Buffalos, Elk, Deer, Salmon, Lions the magic and power of life that energy will be spread through the streets and buildings of San Francisco.
Please support the Mules by signing this petition to The White House to implement a national multi-use trail system.
On July 16 2014, the Mules attended arraignment at United States District Court in Los Angeles for the three citations received on May 9, 2014 while spending the night on land under jurisdiction of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. A “not guilty” plea was entered and trial date is set for November 6, 2014 at which time the Mules will return to Los Angeles. Below are the documents that were handed to us in court.
Mule was cited on May 29, 2014, in San Luis Obispo, California under Penal Code 647 (e).
Except as provided in subdivision (l), every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:
(e) Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it.
The Mules delivered a handwritten letter to the court requesting an extension of the court hearing until December so that they could migrate north for the summer and return during cooler weather.
On July 8, the Mules were given an extension for court arraignment to Dec.11.
On July 10, the Mules received a notification from the Office of the District Attorneys that charges would not be filed at this time.
On January 15, 2015, Superior Court Judge signed a court order to officially dismiss this case.
On May 9, 2014 about 6pm, we were looking for a place to stop as we had been walking all day. We came across this open area. We went into it. There weren’t any locked gates or signs forbidding us to go into it, so we did. I removed the gear from the mules, turned one loose and put one on a picket line attached to a tree.
I fixed my dinner and switched the mules, brought one in, put one out and went to sleep for the night. We were awoken about 10pm with flashlights shining on us. National Park rangers announced who they were and wanted to know what we were doing there.
We told them that we were walking all day, stopped for the night and would be leaving in the morning. They checked with their supervisors who responded no deal. You have to leave.
We said that it’s 10:00 at night, we aren’t interested in packing up and walking in the dark. We are on national park land. This is public property and belongs to the people of the United States. We believe that we have the right to stay here for the night to rest and will be gone in the morning.
The supervisors back at the station said that we had to leave or be taken to jail. So I was taken to the Alhambra City Jail and the mules were taken to the Ventura animal shelter. I entered the jail around 12:00 at night. I was put in a large cell by myself. I went to sleep. I woke up around 6am and started walking back and forth in my cell for 6-7 hours at which time lunch came in and I ate it. Then I went to sleep again.
I was asleep for about an hour when a jailer came in and said get your stuff, you’re leaving. So I got my stuff and walked out to the corridor and the park rangers were waiting. They took me back to the animal shelter where my belongings and the mules were waiting.
I packed the mules up and we left there sometime after dark and we were on our way.
So, in summary, we were arrested by National Park Police by Thousand Oaks for merely stopping to rest for the night on public land that belongs to the people of the United States in an area that wasn’t manicured. It was an open field that we could do no harm.
Location where we had stopped to rest for the night in Thousand Oaks in Ventura County. Google Earth link: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=34.15584,-118.96217&ll=34.15584,-118.96217&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
We were issued three citations:
United States District Court – Notice to Appear