The case of 3 Mules versus State of California / CHP has taken a necessary turn in the road. As the Mules engaged in a long lengthy process moving our lawsuit through the court system, it became obvious to us that it was unlikely we would win this case due to qualified immunity. And the defendants’ attorney general (AG) would request a summary judgement which would stop the case cold. Never to make it to trial.
Winning a settlement was not the primary reason for filing the lawsuit. The primary reason for our lawsuit was to bring public awareness and discussion to the absolute constitutional right for all American citizens using a strong well maintained public thoroughfare to move freely in America how they choose, when they choose. Consequently, the Mules have decided to drop this lawsuit. The spiritual energy of this case has become so strong it can no longer be contained within the courtroom walls. Where lawyers will argue over technicalities, details and procedures attempting to bury it. Out of sight out of mind.
The above being said and understood this case and its accumulated energy is not over by any means. 3 Mules vs. State of California has left the confines of the courtroom and moved its purpose and energy to the field (outside) where the action is. Where the High Speed Motorist (HSM) is actively on a daily basis killing and maiming fellow motorists and all the other legal users (cyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians) with total disregard for the law and simple basic common sense and courtesy to SHARE THE ROAD.
Note: The Mules will be serving as a platform moving, living, carrying no weapons along the public thoroughfare providing all California citizens the opportunity to see and discuss their constitutional right to move freely in this state and country and make their own unique contribution towards that end.
For right now it’s popular to stay inside and be safe. There will come a time the abstract misery felt for being that way will become so strong and people will do anything to get away from it. It is the responsibility for those who know this to keep the light of freedom shining outside so when those who stay inside have had enough of the inside, the light of freedom will be shining and not the darkness staring them in the face telling them to go back inside and be safe.
The Mules want to acknowledge and thank Attorney Todd T. Cardiff for his pro bono service in getting this case and all the issues connected to it up front and out on the public thoroughfare. It will now be the job of the Mules to keep it there all day every day, one step at a time.
Statement from Attorney Todd T. Cardiff:
On July 28, 2022, the court entered a stipulation to voluntarily dismiss Sears v. CHP. Such dismissal stipulated that each party bear its own attorney’s fees and costs. Mr. Cardiff, John Sear’s attorney, explained why the case was dismissed at this point.
While it was no doubt that Plaintiff was arrested under the wrong statute (Veh. Code § 21954) pedestrian outside of crosswalk, the doctrine of qualified immunity requires particularized facts to establish liability for law enforcement officers. The doctrine of qualified immunity, which is a solely judge made doctrine, was originally intended to protect officers who made a mistake when making split second decisions. It has now been twisted to grant immunity to all officers, unless what they have done is so egregious that no reasonable police officer could believe that they were acting within the bounds of the law or constitutional rights. As recently held by the Supreme Court, the violation must be “sufficiently clear that every reasonable official would have understood that what he is doing violates that right.” (Rivas-Villegas v. Cortesluna (2021) ___U.S.___ [142 S.Ct. 4, 7, 211 L.Ed.2d 164, 168].) In other words, immunity protects “‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.’” (White v. Pauly (2017) 580 U.S. 73, 79 [137 S.Ct. 548, 551, 196 L.Ed.2d 463, 468].)
While it is arguable that Mr. Sears was in complete compliance with the law, there was not any case law holding that leading mules by reigns was “driving” under California Vehicle Code section 21050. In addition, it was not clear what “duties” would be applicable to a someone driving a mule. Significant research into the legislative history of Vehicle Section 21050 did not resolve the issue. The vagueness of the law, by default, would have rendered finding liability against Officer Agredano almost an impossibility. Further, while we believe that the officer was giving an unlawful order to simply “stay off the road” (which was impossible), again, research failed to uncover case law with particularized facts supporting Mr. Sear’s rights. Finally, it was determined that an adverse decision could seriously impact Mr. Sear’s right to travel with his mules.
Although the judicial portion of this case is over, the issue is not resolved. Law enforcement must enforce the law without bias. If ranchers can utilize all lanes of traffic to herd or “drive” livestock, then such right must be afforded those who wish to only use a portion of the lane to safely travel on the picturesque backroads of California. (See Cal. Food and Ag. Code §§ 16902, 16903.) Cal. Veh. Code section 21759 places the duty on the motor vehicle driver to “reduce speed or stop…to insure the safety of any person driving or riding the animal or in charge of the livestock.” Mr. Sears will be seeking to introduce legislation that clarifies that those who wish to use alternative forms of travel, including riding, driving or leading horses or other livestock have a right to use traffic lanes in a way that protects both the animals and the drivers. “Share the road” must become the law, not a just a pithy, but unenforceable slogan.
3 Mules Legal Fund Status
The Mules raised $2500 using the GoFundMe platform to usher our lawsuit into federal court.
Itemized record of all expenses incurred by Attorney Todd T. Cardiff while working on the lawsuit:
Postage for Mail Service of Complaint
Delivery services of summons on Agredano
Delivery services of summons on CHP
Postage for Meet and Confer letter
Letterhead (3 ); Envelope (1)
Federal Court Fees for Attorney Admission
Mileage to attend hearing in court and return
Legislative Intent Service
TOTAL EXPENSES 3 MULES vs State of CA
Attorney Trust Fund – Beginning Balance
Payment of costs
Payment of Leg. Intent
Balance refunded to 3 Mules
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An amount of $937.10 was left unspent after dropping the lawsuit. This remaining $937 will be spent on things the Mules will need. The Mules will show on the ledger below a picture of item purchased, receipt, and the remaining balance.
The following is a history timeline of our lawsuit of 3 Mules v. California Highway Patrol (CHP) from point of arrest to present date and will be kept up to date to inform all those interested in the progress of this case. Click on the date to read further details.
1/23/20 Arrested & Jailed: CHP Templeton arrested the Monk and took him to San Luis Obispo County Jail; Little Girl and Little Ethel were taken to SLO County Animail Shelter; all belongings were impounded and taken to the CHP Templeton office.
2/1/20 Charges not filed: San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow declined to file criminal complaint “in the interest of justice.”
3/18/20 Public Records Request: CHP Templeton received Public Records request from the Mules. Cost $110.
7/27/20Government Claim Form: The Mules hand delivered State of CA Government Claim form to the Office of Risk and Insurance Management in Sacramento. Cost $25. Read about our purpose of filing the claim here.
1/21/21 Lawsuit Filed: Attorney Todd T. Cardiff filed lawsuit/complaint at San Luis Obispo County Superior Court against CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray and CHP Templeton Officer Agredano.
Motion Cut-Off (hearing date) – Dispositive Motions (ie. Motions for Summary Judgment) – January 10, 2022 at 8:30am
Final Pre-trial Conference – February 14, 2022 at 8:30am
Jury Trial – March 1, 2022 at 8:30am
The Monk and lawyer Todd Cardiff discuss our lawsuit that we brought against the State of California and CHP in regards to our unlawful and illegal arrests on January 23, 2020 and the importance of keeping the public thoroughfare open to all citizens no matter what mode of transportation they choose, via equestrian, motorist, cyclists, pedestrian.
On January 23, 2020, the Mules were arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and charged with the failure to obey a lawful order. The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney decided to drop the case and not file charges.
The Mules have subsequently filed a lawsuit, Mules vs State of California / CHP claiming our arrest to be unlawful. This case is now in on-going litigation.
The Mules filed a public records request and have obtained the arresting officer’s Summary Incident Report. The report consists of six pages.
The Mules will be posting a series of rebuttals and comments to the contents of this report.
The following is the first segment in a series of responses to this report.
CHP Officer Narrative: I was on duty in a marked CHP patrol vehicle and was in full and distinct CHP uniform. At approximately 1128 hours, I received a call from CHP dispatch of an individual walking two mules eastbound in the westbound lane of Nacimiento Lake Drive from Chimney Rock Road. I responded to the area from US 101 at San Marcos Road and arrived with the individual at approximately 1155 hours. I could see a white male walking eastbound on the westbound shoulder pulling two mules.
Mule Rebuttal: I was not “pulling” the mules. I was leading the mules. They were walking behind me willingly at approximately the same speed as which I was walking. “Pulling” infers force. There was no force involved.
What it looks like leading the mules versus pulling the mules.
CHP Officer Narrative: Both mules were wearing packs and walking in the westbound lane and were blocking approximately half of the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: We weren’t “blocking” the traffic lane. Blocking infers we were stationary with the intent of preventing forward motion of something in motion. We were not stationary. We were walking at approximately 2-3 miles per hours in a forward motion on the side of the road.
CHP Officer Narrative:I pulled alongside in the opposing lane and rolled down my passenger side window to make my first contact. I greeted the individual and engaged him in conversation. He didn’t acknowledge me and kept on walking eastbound.
Mule Rebuttal: The reason I didn’t acknowledge him was because he basically stopped in the middle of the road with his CHP cruiser, had no warning lights on, and tried to engage me in a conversation with traffic moving at high speed in both directions unaware of the dangerous hazard he was creating. I was not going to subject myself and my mules to that danger by stopping and engaging the officer in conversation.
CHP Officer Narrative: I drove forward, made a U-turn and was now parallel alongside him in the eastbound lane. I called out to him for my second contact. I told him that he can’t be blocking the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again, he uses the word “blocking.” Blocking infers setting up a stationary road block to prevent anybody from getting by. We were not doing that. We were walking from 2 to 3 miles per hour moving forward down the side of the road.
CHP Officer Narrative:He yelled back at me saying, “How do you know I was in the lane? Do you have any god damn proof?” I activated my rear warning lights as traffic began to build up behind me.
Mule Rebuttal: This was the first time the officer used his warning lights to notify traffic of his stationary position on the highway (blocking traffic) and the reduction of their speed would be necessary.
CHP Officer Narrative: I informed him that passing motorists have been calling him in as a traffic hazard
Mule Rebuttal: The motorists are the traffic hazard for refusing to obey the law and share the road with myself and mules as we were walking on the side of the road. They were the ones who were the traffic hazard. They had an absolute choice: obey the law, slow down, and stop if necessary, so that we could all pass each other safely. Or, refuse to do that and pass us at high speed, swerve out into the opposing lane to get by as fast as possible before they hit another car coming in the opposite direction. They made that choice. Nobody forced them to make that choice. Certainly not the Mules.
CHP Officer Narrative: and I told him to stay off the road.
Mule Rebuttal: And once again the CHP officer tells us to stay off the road. Telling myself and my mules to stay off the road was not a lawful order, but just the opposite. It was an unlawful order as we had the right to walk on Naciemento Lake Road.
CHP Officer Narrative: The individual began using a tirade of insults.
Mule Rebuttal: Well, I don’t know if it was a tirade of insults, but I wasn’t very happy with the way the officer was handling the situation.
CHP Officer Narrative: I could see that the mules were now on a wide, flat shoulder and were out of harm’s way. With traffic building up behind me, I advised him to stay out of the lane and I left the scene.
Mule Rebuttal: Whenever there is room, we will always relent and go as far away from the lane of traffic as possible. That is a given. Many many times on these rural roads in California that option is not available. We have no choice but to walk in the lane of traffic. Walk on the road. We have the right to be doing so. The motorist must share that road. The road does not belong exclusively to a high speed machine called the automobile.
CHP Officer Narrative: At 1222 hours, I received a second call from CHP dispatch of the same individual blocking the traffic lane with two mules.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again, he uses the word “blocking.” We weren’t blocking anybody. We were walking 2-3 mph on the side of the roading heading south towards Paso Robles.
CHP Officer Narrative: I waited for CHP unit 9-1, Officer A to assist me with this incident. In the meantime, two witnesses came to my location and advised me of the dangerous traffic hazard the mules were causing.
Mule Rebuttal: The two motorists complaining about the mules being a dangerous traffic hazard for being on the road demonstrates the total misunderstanding by the motoring public of equestrian rights to use that road. It also demonstrates the negligence of the state of California, CalTrans, and CHP to properly inform the motoring public of their obligation under the state vehicle code to share the road. If the officer knew the law, he would have informed them of their obligation under the state vehicle code to yield and share the road instead of using their complaints of us being a hazard to justify our arrests.
CHP Officer Narrative: Officer A and I drove out onto Nacimiento Lake Drive and I made contact with the individual for a third time. I could see the subject walked eastbound on the westbound shoulder with the two mules in the westbound lane.
Mule Rebuttal: The CHP Pedestrian Tip Card states that pedestrians should walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road.
Mule Rebuttal: The Mules when walking these rural roads that have posted speed limits that far exceed their ability to safely accommodate all legal users, find ourselves many times crossing back and forth on the road to get on the side that provides ourselves the most room and safety for ourselves and the motorists passing us.
CHP Officer Narrative:The shoulder was wide enough that they all could have walked single file, posing less of a hazard, had the subject made the choice to do so. I recognize this to be extremely dangerous and his continued refusal to comply and walk he and the mules single file on the shoulder posed a hazardous situation to the subject, the mules, and the motoring public.
Mule Rebuttal: If I was to walk single file on that narrow road with very little room for the high speed automobile to get by us without side swiping us, it would be a big mistake. When I recognize the extreme danger of allowing a high speed automobile to what I call “thread the needle” going by us at break neck speeds, it is extremely dangerous for ourselves, the motorist, and the automobiles in the opposing lane. So when I find myself in this situation and I do many times, especially when crossing bridges, I literally get out in the lane of traffic because there is no place else to be and stop the motorist, jump up and down, wave my arms, and make sure the motorist knows that they must slow down. I literally have to force them to do so. They always get by us safely and nobody gets into a bloody wreck.
CHP Officer Narrative:I positioned my patrol vehicle blocking the narrow shoulder and exited to make contact. Officer A positioned his patrol vehicle in the lane to the rear of mine with the overhead emergency lights activated. He exited his vehicle and stood in the westbound lane to flag and warn oncoming traffic. The subject was irate and agitated saying that this was a public thoroughfare and he had the right to be there.
Mule Rebuttal: Of course I was agitated and irate. If a motorist was stopped by a CHP officer and told that he had no right to be in his car and driving down the road, what kind of behavior would you expect from that motorist?
CHP Officer Narrative:I explained that I was concerned for his safety. He said that traffic needs to slow down, if I was trulyconcerned about his safety.
Mule Rebuttal: Yes that’s exactly what the officer should have been involved in is slowing traffic down for the safety of myself, the mules, and the ignorant motorists.
CHP Officer Narrative:I told him that I witnessed his mules walking two abreast in the lane. I told him I wanted to make this as easy as possible and I asked him for identification. He said I knew who he was and to look at his website. He refused to give me any form of identification. I tried to reason with him and asked for his ID. He went to his saddlebag and produced a California ID card identifying him as John Cheney Sears. Mr. Sears went on to say that the speed limit should be 25 mph, people need to share the road, and that the CHP has him on surveillance.
CHP Officer Narrative:I asked him to work with me and stay out of the traffic lane.
Mule Rebuttal: Once again it was impossible to stay out of the lane of traffic due to the lack of anywhere else to be.
CHP Officer Narrative:He stated that he would not do that.
Mule Rebuttal: Well of course I didn’t do that, I couldn’t do that.
CHP Officer Narrative:I gave him a lawful order three times and told him that he may receive a ticket or worse, go to jail. The legal order was based upon section 21954(a) VC, Pedestrian Outside a Crosswalk.
Mule Rebuttal: Nacimiento Lake Road (G14) is a rural area. There are no cross walks any where. When you have to go across that road because of blind curves and get to the safer side for the safety of myself, the mules, and the ignorant motorist, that’s what we do. And we have the right to do that. And there are no cross walks on that road.
CHP Officer Narrative:Mr. Sears stated that if that happened, I would be opening up a can of worms. I told him that I didn’t want to take it to the next level. He said, “What happens, happens.”
Mule Rebuttal: The danger to the motoring public continues because of the reckless driving of that public. They make the choice to drive recklessly at high speeds. We don’t force them to do that. That is their choice.
CHP Officer Narrative:Officer A and I positioned our patrol vehicles at the intersection of Nacimiento Lake Drive and San Marcos Road. With the belief that the danger to the motoring public would most likely continue, I drove out to Mr. Sears’ location with the MVARS camera activated. Once again, I was able to see Mr. Sears walking his mules in the eastbound traffic lane, rather than on the shoulder, in defiance of my lawful order, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 2800(a).
Mule Rebuttal: The order was not lawful. We have the right to be on the road. We have the right to use it. And there was no place else to go. As I stated previously, if there was, we would be there. Anytime there is enough room for us to remove ourselves as far as possible from the high speed motorist, we do so. But in many cases, especially on that road, there isn’t. The order was not lawful. You can’t give an order that is impossible to comply with and call it lawful.
CHP Officer Narrative:I made a U-turn and activated my red lights to warn approaching traffic. Six vehicles including a Semi-tractor pulling a low boy trailer with heavy equipment had to utilize the opposing lane to get around Mr. Sears and his mules.
Mule Rebuttal: Well why did he have to do that? Because the semi-tractor refused to slow down and stop if necessary so we could all safely pass each other. The semi-tractor was blatantly breaking the law in front of the CHP officer and the CHP officer did nothing to address that.
CHP Officer Narrative: Had Mr. Sears walked the Mules single file as directed, there would have been much less of a hazard presented.
Mule Rebuttal: Far to the contrary, once again, there is extreme danger had we been walking single file. The semi-tractor would have side swiped us.
CHP Officer Narrative: I returned to the San Marcos intersection and waited for Mr. Sears to arrive.
CHP Officer Narrative: The situation posed an extreme danger to Mr. Sears, the mules, and the motoring public. Nacimiento Lake Drive is a winding roadway with ascending and descending elevations. The shoulders are narrow offering little room for a horse and even less for a vehicle. Mr. Sears was previously in an area of blind curves when CHP dispatch first received calls of him blocking the eastbound traffic lane. Mr. Sears was now about to travel east of San Marcos Road where the roadway is similarly dangerous.
Mule Rebuttal: CHP officer did not offer any assistance in alternate routes, nor did the officer offer a trailer ride to get to Paso Robles. We had no cell reception to call anybody. In the CHP dashcam video, the officer states that he has no cell reception either yet he was able to call for a trailer to take us to jail in San Luis Obispo but not a tralier ride to Paso Robles. The only way for us to physically get out of the area was to continue walking as we could not sprout wings and fly away, which is what we told the officer as well. CHP Officer turned his back on us and walked away as seen in the dashcam video.
CHP Officer Narrative:At 1312 hours, I notified my supervisor/Sergeant and advised him of the ongoing situation involving Mr. Sears, the mules in the lane, and the defiance of a lawful order. I explained that if the dangerous situation continued, I may have no other choice but to arrest Mr. Sears. Sergeant concurred with me.
Upon Mr. Sears’ arrival, I exited my patrol vehicle and detained Mr. Sears. Officer Abel held the mules and I placed Mr. Sears under arrest for disobeying a lawful order, without incident. I advised Mr. Sears of his Miranda Rights which he invoked. Mr. Sears went on to yell that this was an unlawful arrest, we had no right to do this, and we were “fucking cowards.” his two mules were turned over to San Luis Obispo County Animal Services for safe keeping. All of Mr. Sears’ property was taken to the Templeton CHP office for safe keeping. Mr. Sears was transported to the San Luis Obispo County Jail and turned over to jail staff for booking.
Mules Rebuttal: Once again, it was not a lawful order, but just the opposite. The officer and the Sergeant had other choices, such as providing escort, providing a trailer ride to Paso Robles. The Mules could not sprout wings and fly away. If the CHP was able to summon Animal Services for a trailer so quickly, why couldn’t they trailer us past the area they thought was dangerous and drop off us to continue our journey to Paso Robles which was less than five miles way rather than drive us to San Luis Obispo 40 miles away. The CHP had other choices, just as the high speed motorist had a choice to obey the law to slow down and share the road.
The Mules have opened a 3 Mules Legal Fund to help pay for legal costs (excluding attorney fees) in our case against the State of California and its enforcement agency CHP. [Details about our case is posted here.]
The Mules will provide a complete and accurate ledger as to where, how, and when any funds that are raised for the 3 Mules Legal Fund using our GoFundMe page when our attorney advises us the appropriate time to do so. The funds will be held in our attorney Todd T Cardiff ‘s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLT). Our initial fundraising goal for the legal fund is $2500. However, we will set a goal of $2600 to help cover GoFundMe fee of 2.9% + 30 cents per each donation.
The 3 Mules Legal Fund GoFundMe will be turned off for further donations when we reach this initial goal and we will post here again when it has been turned off.
The purpose in filing this lawsuit is not to seek revenge against the arresting officer or CHP, but to protect the Mules sovereign right and Constitutional right as well as everybody else’s right to move freely in America. For without this right the Mules ages old nomadic way of life dies dead in its tracks.
The Mules have been given the spiritual energy of our ancestors which has been accumulated and harbored for thousands of years in the struggle to be and remain free in this earthly dimension. The Mules will use this energy peacefully in ways yet to be understood or foreseen. The lawsuit is only one of these ways.
If you are see a link to donate to the Mules that doesn’t look like the above and it is not listed here on our 3Mules.com website or official 3Mules Facebook page, it is not endorsed by us. Other than what we stated here, we do not have any other active GoFundMe, Kickstarter, PayPal or any other online sites requesting funds.
As of 2/3/2021 8pm: Our fundraising goal of $2600 has been reached and no further donations to this campaign will be accepted. The funds will be held in our attorney Todd T. Cardiff ‘s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLT). The Mules say thank you on behalf of ourselves, on behalf of the Nation, the Three Mules Nation, and all those who love and cherish the freedom to travel in this nation how you choose when you choose as the Mules practice and show all day every day one step at a time. ~The Mules
As of 5/10/2021: CREDITS 2/3/2021: $2505 raised thru GoFundMe for 3 Mules Legal Fund 3/1/2021: $2505 Mule Legal Fund balance deposited in Lawyers’ Trust Account
EXPENSES 2/5/2021: $6.60 Cardiff postage for Mail Service of Complaint to mail summons/complaint to CHP HQ/CHP Templeton 3/28/2021: $35 Moe’s Processing Servers (CHP Sacramento) 3/19/2021: $95 United Process Servers (CHP Templeton) 4/1/2021: $0.55 Cardiff postage for meet and confer letter 4/1/2021: $5.00 Cardiff letterhead and envelop 4/15/2021: $331 Cardiff court fees for Attorney Admission into Federal Court, Central District
On May 20, 2021, the California Attorney General attorney for California Highway Patrol (CHP) answered the Mules’ complaint with a long detailed diatribe trying to justify the Mules’ arrest on January 23, 2020.
The Mules under state law clearly have the right to travel/walk on all county, state roads in California. The Mules right to do so as well as all other legal users – cyclists, pedestrians was clearly violated.
This case, 3 Mules vs California/CHP is a gift that has been laid down on a table its one-inch thick and a foot square. It has been infused with glowing beautiful light sent from the nomadic way of life that has been practiced for thousands and thousands of years here on this earth. The effect this case will have will be far reaching and multi-dimensional.
The spiritual energy being accumulated in and around this case will never relent, protecting this sacred, nomadic way of life and all those who give their energy to it.
3/19/2021 Lawsuit update: California Highway Patrol headquarters in Sacramento and CHP Templeton officer Agredano did not respond to our initial mailing of the complaint and summons within the 20 day required amount of time. Therefore, our lawyer hired two processing services to deliver the summons and complaint. The summons was delivered to CHP Sacramento by Moe’s Processing Service on 3/16/2021 (cost $35), CHP Templeton officer David Agredano on 3/19/21 by United Process Servers (cost $95), and acknowledged by San Luis Obispo Superior Court on 3/19/2021. We are now waiting for the defendants to respond. They have 30 days.
Synopsis As the Mules wander and roam throughout the western half of America, we are showing all those by whom we pass the extreme value of this ages old sacred relationship between human being and horse. The Mules are also showing that all others who travel by their own speed and their own power (foot, bike, horse) must have access to the public thoroughfare unhindered and unobstructed. Non-motorized methods of travel must be protected by all those who depend on these alternative ways of traveling.
On January 23, 2020, the Mules were unlawfully and illegally arrested and incarcerated by the State of California/California Highway Patrol (CHP) using the false pretense of safety to justify the arrest. The Mules have brought this lawsuit against the State of California and its enforcement agency CHP to protect the most sacred right in this country for all its citizens to move freely how they choose, when they choose by using the Public Thoroughfare and all city, county, state roads to do so.
Was the Mules arrest planned and executed on purpose by CHP or simply their gross misunderstanding of the state law? CHP used the two words “safety hazard” to justify our arrest. The Mules are a legal but slower mode of transport. The safety hazard is not the slower legal modes of travel (pedestrian, cyclist, equestrian) but the high speed motorist (HSM) who refuses to obey the law, reduce its speed, stop if necessary, to create a safe space for other slower modes of transport, such as the Mules, where they can pass each other safely.
On January 23, 2020, when the CHP stopped and ordered the Mules to stay off the Nacimiento Lake Road, the area had no alternative routes for us to take. We had no physical way to get out of the location where we were other than continuing to proceed forward. The officer used his radio to contact animal control to pick up the mules for impoundment and the Monk was then taken to jail by CHP.
The Mules will not shirk their responsibility to themselves, their ancestors, and all those who will follow us, having the deep need within their bones to spontaneously move freely on this earth.
Proof of Service, Summons and Complaint delivered to CHP Sacramento
CHP dash cam shot of 3 Mules walking along Naciemento Lake Road prior to their arrest on January 23, 2020.
San Luis Obispo, CA: On January 21, 2021, John Sears, who lives a nomadic lifestyle and has traveled the state of California with his mules for the past eight years, filed a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court alleging that the California Highway Patrol wrongfully and illegally arrested him in violation of his natural, Constitutional and statutory rights.
As noted in the first paragraph of the complaint: “By this action John Sears seeks to protect this ages-old nomadic way of life and the sacred relationship between man and horse to travel together with reverence and respect for this beautiful place in which we all reside called Earth.”
Sears, 73, and his mules began traveling when he was 36. He has lived full-time outside and traveled with his mules after retiring from his work as a tree trimmer in 2001 at age 54. He documents their endless journey on his website 3Mules.com, 3 Mules Facebook and Instagram pages, which have over 60,000 followers worldwide.
On January 23, 2020, the Mules were walking along Nacimiento Lake Drive, a rural two-lane country road near Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County. Such route is the only route between Bradley, California and Paso Robles other than Highway 101, and is part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, a historically designated trail that stretches 1200 miles from Nogales, Mexico, through the California desert and coastal areas in Southern California and the Central Coast region, to San Francisco.
Despite the Mules right to travel such road, and all public thoroughfares in California, excluding interstate highways, he was ordered by CHP officer David Agredano to “stay off the road.” Such order was not only impossible to safely comply with, it was in violation of Sears’ rights under the U.S. and California Constitution.
Sears states: “Nowhere in the California vehicle code does it state that the public thoroughfare is for the exclusive use of the high speed heavy machine called an automobile.”
The California Vehicle Codes and Food and Agricultural Codes provide all non-motorized travel equal access to the public thoroughfare. (Veh. Code § 21050, See also, Food and Ag Code § 16902, 16903.
“The driver of any vehicle approaching any horse drawn vehicle, any ridden animal, or any livestock shall exercise proper control of his vehicle and shall reduce speed or stop as may appear necessary or as may be signaled or otherwise requested by any person driving, riding or in charge of the animal or livestock in order to avoid frightening and to safeguard the animal or livestock and to insure the safety of any person driving or riding the animal or in charge of the livestock. “
California Vehicle Code 21759
Sears notes: “The Mules were not creating a safety hazard. The Mules were legally using the public thoroughfare in conformity with the state vehicle code. The motorist has one of two options: 1) obey the state vehicle code, slow down, and stop if necessary, when approaching livestock, or 2) disobey the state vehicle code, refuse to slow down, recklessly pass with no concern for the consequences, and call 911 to complain that there is a person walking with horses on the road.”
Along substantial stretches, Nacimiento Lake Drive is hemmed with steep banks on both sides of the road. It has narrow to non-existent shoulders in many areas as the CHP dash cam video clearly shows. The non-paved area directly adjacent to the road was a steep upward bank, which would be difficult to impossible for a pack mule to navigate.
“The Mules were walking as close to the steep bank as we could to provide the motorists that were obeying state vehicle codes to safely pass.”
Sears further notes: “If this arrest was legal, then all U.S. citizens traveling under their own non-motorized power (equestrians, pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair, and all others) is likewise illegal. This nomadic lifestyle which the Mules practice, which is over hundreds of thousands of years old, is how the Mules live on this earth. The Mules are bringing this case to court to preserve the right for all equestrians, pedestrians, and cyclists to travel on these public thoroughfares without fear of arrest.”
Sears filed a complaint alleging violation of his civil rights under Federal and California law, false arrest, and declaratory and injunctive relief. In addition, to his damages, he seeks a declaration of his rights that he can present to law enforcement in the future, and for the CHP to issue a training bulletin informing officers of the right for equines and other animals to use the public thoroughfare.
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People often ask the Mules what their mission is. “Our purpose is to walk and live peacefully taking only what we need. Seeking balance and harmony with all that surrounds us and bringing the energy and value of this ages old way of life to all of those who we pass.”
“Spiritually, we are all unique. The Mules are experiencing the sacredness of this place in our own unique way. We are not doing anything spectacular. We get up in the morning, fix something to eat, and walk all day long. We enjoy it. Just walking. We enjoy the sacred act of walking in harmony and balance with the energy of this beautiful Earth that flows in, around and through us.”
“The public thoroughfare has been designed for the high speed motorists and their automobiles,” Sears explained. “The Mules and those who travel under their own power and speed (equestrians, cyclists, hikers) must preserve the right to use these same public thoroughfares as there is no adequate trail system to get equestrians and non-motorized travelers from one community to the next in this state.”
Sears has hand delivered copies of his Declaration of Emergency to over 200 city halls in California as well as to the governor’s office at the California State Capitol. In the declaration, he says the Natural World is being destroyed by a sprawling Megatropolis. Sears describes the Megatropolis as “the man-made world, spreading sprawling concrete, putting up lanes, putting up buildings everywhere. It wants all the remaining open space and it is unrelenting. It doesn’t want any other venues (pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians) to use the public thoroughfare except for its most favorite tool, the automobile.”
For further press inquiries or interviews, contact Attorney Todd T. Cardiff Office (619) 546-5123 or Cell (619) 885-1443 – www.tcardifflaw.com
The Mules delivered to Sacramento the following claim against the State of California and its enforcement agency, the California Highway Patrol, for our unlawful and illegal arrest on January 23, 2020, for allegedly failing to obey a lawful order.
The purpose of the Mules filing this claim is to protect the Mules legal right to the use of the public thoroughfare. Without access to a strong healthy public thoroughfare, the Mules ages old nomadic way of life will come to an end. The energy of our ancestors who have roamed and wandered across this earth for thousands of years is harbored and available for our use. We will use it in this dimension and all others in which we may find ourselves to preserve this sacred way of life for ourselves and those who will inevitably follow.
On Monday, July 27, 2020, the Mules brought our claim for over 1000.00 dollars pertaining to our wrongful and illegal arrest by the State of California and its enforcement agency CHP to the California State Capitol.
The Mules were arrested on January 23rd, 2020 (read about that incident here) for failure to obey a lawful order which was anything but a lawful order. The Mules were ordered off the road it’s our right to walk on the road under state law and the US Constitution.
The energy of our ages old nomadic way of life that has been practiced by the mules through the ages is in company with this claim. The spiritual energy accompanying this claim will make itself known in the most of unforeseen ways.
Be ready get ready for what is to come. For the energy of our ancestors who have lived their sacred way of life on this Earth will never sit back and watch its beloved way of living destroyed by the megatropolis/man made world.
The Mules would like to introduce a friend and follower of the Three Mules Nation, Lori Ann Wiley. Lori is a paralegal who has worked in law enforcement and education. She has volunteered to help the mules with our claim against the State of California for when we were arrested for exercising our legal rights to travel on the public thoroughfare on county road G14 in Paso Robles, on January 23, 2020 (details here).
The Mules will be walking back to the Templeton California Highway Patrol (CHP) office to deliver an unsigned governmental claim. Upon arriving there, we will deliver this unsigned claim for less than $1,000, to demand reimbursement of the $266 that was paid to San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter, for the release of Little Girl and Little Ethel from their custody.
The purpose in delivering this unsigned claim to CHP Templeton is: 1) to bring the energy of our ages old sacred nomadic way of life and the sacred relationship between human being and horse, which has been practiced on this Earth throughout the ages, to the doorstep of the megatropolis; and 2) to bring notification that the Mules and this way of life, which we have practiced with love and respect for Earth and its web of life, will never acquiesce to the megatropolis and its most favored child, the automobile, with its relentless pursuit to acquire the public thoroughfare for its exclusive use.
For if we allow these kinds of unlawful arrests to be made under the guise of public safety, the inevitable consequences of this will be that the Mules, and all others like us, will be removed from the public thoroughfare, which will result in the end of this sacred relationship between human being and horse living and moving in harmony and respect for Earth and the energy of all its life.
The energy accumulated and harbored in this document on our way to Templeton will materialize in unforeseen ways as we then move forward to Sacramento to deliver another Governmental Claim for over $1,000.
By delivering this claim, we want to address the incongruities that exist between the actual law and a gray area that was claimed, and then used by CHP Templeton, to interpret the law in order to side step the actual law, which then enabled them to bring charges and make an unlawful arrest under the guise of public safety, as what happened in the case against the Mules.
Share the road. It’s the law.
Public thoroughfares, by their very nature, are for public use and are to be shared by all legal users. In order for a public thoroughfare to operate safely and efficiently, the practice of sharing must be enforced by law enforcement. Releasing one group of users from their responsibility to share and adjust position and/or speed for the safety of all, and then transferring the energy of that responsibility onto the shoulders of another (such as the Mules), is not compatible with the proper use of a public thoroughfare. In the case of the Mules, CHP Templeton demanded the Mules to get off the public thoroughfare under the pretense of safety, so that the responsibility of the high speed motorist to obey the law could be avoided.
The Mules see this case as a great opportunity to bring attention and awareness, through discussion and education, to the rights, duties, and responsibilities of all those (motorists, equestrians, cyclists, pedestrians) who use and share the public thoroughfare.