3 Mules vs State of CA/CHP Timeline

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.
  • 1/24/20 Released from SLO County Jail with the condition to appear in court on 3/23/20; Little Girl & Little Ethel were released from SLO County Animal Shelter for $266.
  • 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.
  • 7/27/20 Government 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.
  • 2/3/21 3 Mules Legal Fund GoFundMe Fundraiser: The 3 Mules Nation contributed $2505 to 3 Mules Legal Fund, which is being held in attorney Todd Cardiff’s Interest in Lawyers’ Trust Account.
  • 2/5/21 Summons mailed: Summons, Complaint and Notice of Acknowledgment mailed to CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray and CHP Templeton officer Agredano. (Cost $6.60 to mail summons)
  • 3/19/21 Proof of Service Summons & Complaint electronically filed with San Luis Obispo Superior Cout ($130 cost for process servers)
  • 4/13/21 Notice of Removal from State Court to the Federal Court upon request of the California Attorney General because the Mules’ case involves a Federal question.
  • 4/14/21 Notice of Assignment to United States District Court Central District of California. This case has been assigned to District Judge Andre Birotte, Jr., and Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue.
  • 4/15/21 United States District Court Central District of California filed a Notice of Standing Order
  • 4/15/21 Stipulation to Extend Time to Respond to Initial Complaint by not more than 30 days was filed by the State of California
  • 5/10/21 The law office of Todd Cardiff paid $331 court fees for Attorney Admission into Federal Court, Central District.
  • 5/20/21 The Legal Secretary for the California Department of Justice / Attorney General answered the Mules complaint with the Defendants’ Answer to Complaint: Demand for Jury Trial, which is a long detailed diatribe trying to justify the Mules arrest.
  • 6/14/21 Order for Change of Venue from Los Angeles to Santa Ana.
  • 6/15/21 Notice of Reassignment of Case to Judge David O. Carter and Autumn D. Spaeth for all further proceedings and any discovery matters


  • UPCOMING DATES
  • Settlement Conference – TBD
  • Fact Discovery Cut-Off – December 1, 2021
  • 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. 
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Part I: Mules Rebuttal to CHP Summary Incident Report

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.

CHP Pedestrian Tip Card

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 truly concerned 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.

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Lady (1980-October 7, 2021)

Lady, the mule who I purchased in 1986 in Coarsegold, CA when she was about 6 years old, and then roamed and wandered all over the western United States for 26 years, and in California for the past 9 years, has laid her physical body to rest on this day, October 7, 2021, at age 41 in human years. In horse years, we calculate this to be 114 years old.

The Mules want to give a special thanks to Jane, her parents, and Tucky for the wonderful care and place to spend her last years.

Myself, the Monk, says to myself how best to honor this wonderful soul who became an essential part of my life. If you have taken a photo of or with Lady, please share with us in the comments with the location and date and we will add to a video that we are compiling to remember her. 

When I was saying goodbye to her for the last time [on 9/20/21], we both knew there was an understanding that we would come together once again to wander and roam over the face of this Earth practicing the ages old sacred ways of the nomads.

The body dies and returns to dust. The spirit is eternal. Lady will have many paths and choices to choose from. We hope she chooses to return with us and continue to contribute her energy to the Three Mules Journey in a way unique and peculiar to herself.

The Mules

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Acorns

The Mules have been processing acorns. First gathering, then shelling, then pounding into a cornmeal type consistency, then leeching in water for about 5 days, then drying out, at which time they’ll be ready to eat.

After shelling the acorn and it’s still green and moist it’s pretty easy to pound them up into a cornmeal consistency. They leach a lot faster than if you were to leach them when the acorns are in a whole condition.

What do they taste like you ask and wonder? Well not good, not bad. The Mules suspect when the grocery stores are empty and you’ve been walking all day in search of something to eat, a bag of acorn flour in your pack that you can reach into and get some to eat, will taste pretty good. Of course at that point and beyond, taste is not really much of a concern. When the stomach wants food, it’ll take anything it can get without the slightest protest as to what it is or what it taste like.

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Mule Advisory Board

The Mules have been in California traveling, walking, and using the county, city, and state public thoroughfares for almost nine years living with respect and reverence for the Earth that supports us. Through this experience, we have come to the obvious observation that the California public thoroughfares, especially the rural thoroughfares, are dangerous and unsafe.  To deal with this condition, the Mules have created the Mule Advisory Board to advise the California Governor, State Legislatures, Caltrans and CHP. 

The rural county and state roads have been constructed to be very smooth allowing the modern automobile to travel them at extremely high and dangerous speeds. These roads are also very narrow allowing little or no room for automobiles and the other legal users such as equestrians, cyclists, and pedestrians to safely pass each other. Cyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians are being illegally removed from these public thoroughfares simply because there is no room by which to use them alongside motorists. 

For over eight years, the Mules have passed a huge amount of roadside memorials representing the many people who have needlessly lost their lives to the unsafe conditions of California’s public roads. The Mules are holding the State of California and Caltrans responsible for the deadly and dangerous road conditions which have been responsible for the bloody carnage which has been allowed to go on far too long.

The Mule Advisory Board has issued the following directives to be implemented immediately:

1) Mandatory speed limit reduction from 55 miles per hour (mph) to 30 mph on all county and state roads where a designated condition of extremely dangerous road has been established. The designated condition of an extremely dangerous road would be any section of a road that has blind curves and a narrow passage with little or no shoulder for all the legal users to pass each other safely. The 30 mph speed limit will be in effect until an alternate pathway for the other legal users (pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists) is constructed not further than one mile from the line of travel from the road in question.

2) Rest Stops. On any newly constructed alternative pathways for non-motorized travelers, places to stop and rest for not less or more than a 24-hour period must be provided along the route every ten miles. 

3) Signage – signs must be posted every four miles on both sides of the road, stamping down and stamping into the public mind that sharing the road is the law. And for the well-being and safety of all legal users this law must be practiced and obeyed.  

4) Enforce CA Vehicle Code 21759The driver of any vehicle that approaches a horse drawn vehicle, any ridden animal, or livestock must exercise proper control of his vehicle and shall reduce speed or stop as may appear necessary to avoid frightening the animal and to insure safety of the person in charge of the animal.  

CA Vehicle Code 21759

The above directives are to be implemented immediately, for the purpose of bringing a state of the art public thoroughfare and trail system to the people of California. 

The Mules will be delivering a copy of the Mules Advisory Board’s directives (shown below) one step at a time, all day every day, to the California Governor and State Legislatures, all CalTrans District Offices, and every CHP District Headquarters. As well, the Mules will be delivering and spreading throughout the State the ever mounting level of energy emanating from our lawsuit, Mules vs. State of California. The energy emanating from this lawsuit will show itself to have no bounds. It will blanket the State and relentlessly work to bring a state of the art public thoroughfare and trail system to the people of California. 

The Mules

MULE ADVISORY BOARD DIRECTIVE:

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Defendants’ Answer to Complaint

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.

~The Mules

Read Defendents’ Answer to Complaint

Read The Mules Complaint against CHP

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The Mules v State of California

The Mules view this case as a gift. As we gaze into the mist, we see a brown table resting upon it a foot square one-inch thick type folder emitting glowing brown shining light, gIving off a clear message mixed with glowing light. Contribute your unique spiritual energy in ways only you can and have that energy returned in ways your imagination can never foresee. 

The Energy of this case continues to grow. The Mules will be leaving Tehachapi where we’ve been resting for over a month on Lori’s property. Exactly why I can’t say but Chuck and Lori have been extremely welcoming and after coming up from Imperial Beach, the southernmost point of our migratory journey, the extended stay has been appreciated. 

The Mules will carry this one foot square one-inch thick brown folder emitting its powerful spiritual light with us to the Templeton CHP office where the 3 Mules vs. State of California lawsuit was spiritually activated. This case is a spiritual gift to the Mules and all those who live and practice the art of peacefully pursuing freedom on this earth. It will express the energy it gathers and harbors in ways as yet to be understood. 

As the Mules move one step at a time towards Templeton, CA, the lawsuit of 3 Mules vs. California will pull huge amounts of negative energy, harbored within the walls of the Megatropolis, and from those walls into the 3 Mules journey, where the ages old knowledge of this nomadic way of life which the Mules live in service to, will be converted to positive spiritual energy that will then serve the 3 Mules journey in many ways. The 3 Mules vs CA court case will certainly be drawing from that source of energy. 

After the Mules deposit the spiritual energy of our lawsuit 3 Mules vs State of CA at the door of CHP Templeton office, we will once again be using G-14 (the road the Mules were arrested on) as we make our way to Sacramento.  This road, like most county, state roads, are extremely dangerous due in large part to the total negligence of the state allowing a speed limit that far exceeds the capacity of these roads to provide enough room for all legal users to safely use them. Also the state has totally failed to sign these roads to inform the motorist that sharing the road with all who legally use them IS THE LAW. 

Spiritual Energy is the only true wealth. The paper money the Megatropolis doles out to its citizens is no wealth at all. The Mules know this so we speak of this. 

The Mules’ wealth is the spiritual energy we create around us by the way we live. The nomadic way we live is the connection to the spiritual realm that provides the energy that makes life worth living for us the Mules. 

The Mules

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3/19 Lawsuit Update: Mules vs State of California and CHP

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

Image 1 of 3

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The Mules sue the California Highway Patrol over their right to travel on the public thoroughfare

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) 885-1443www.tcardifflaw.com

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