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
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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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

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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.  

Mules-vs-CHP-p1

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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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The Mules deliver their State of California Government Claim to Sacramento

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.

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California State Capitol

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

Share the road. It's the law.
Share the road. It's the law.

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Bakersfield

When the Mules got into Bakersfield, we went to Tractor Supply looking for Pure Neats foot oil. As we returned to the mules, a lady named Lori was waiting with the mules. She introduced herself and her husband Chuck. She told us that she has been watching the 3 Mules page for many a year. Lori also told us how she contacted CHP and the District Attorney expressing her disgust anger as to the Mules illegal arrest and confinement.

The Mules thanked Lori for the energy of her effort on our behalf as well as the many others of the 3 Mules Nation who did likewise. For if the collective energy of the 3 Mules Nation had not been used, the Mules would right now be using the hacksaw blade we found in our pillow to saw through the bars and take our rightful place on the public thoroughfare showing all who pass our way, there is nothing more precious on this earth than true human freedom.

Lori told us she lived close by and we were welcome to stay the night. It was gettin close to that time so we gratefully accepted her offer. Her kids set up a make shift corral where the mules spent three comfortable nights. Thank you Lori and her nice family for the hospitality they showed the Mules.

Temporary coral set-up for the mules in front yard of Lori's home

As the picture shows it is very easy to accommodate an equestrian traveler as a guest in many suburban communities. These gated housing developments that are springing up everywhere are planned and engineered in such a way as to exclude most outside activity other than getting out of an automobile, walking 40 feet to the front door and going inside, which is the real purpose of an engineered gated community to keep you inside, isolated, dependent and addicted to the internet of things.

In an ever increasing number of cities and towns, city councils are being unduly influenced and pressured to pass ordinances, codes that make any free spontaneous activity in your neighborhood virtually impossible. The 3 mule journey and its nomadic ages old lifestyle pushes back all day every day, one step at a time, against this damning Megatropolis and its goal of disconnection, isolation from the Web of Life, the Natural World.

The Mules

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Mayfield Equine Services

Jerrod Mayfield of Mayfield Equine Services has shoed the Mules in the Bakersfield area many times. Once again, Jerrod gave his energy and skill to the 3 Mules endless journey.

A journey showing respect and reverence for earth our home and all its inhabitants. A journey using the energy of this ages old sacred relationship between human being and horse showing all those who the 3 Mules pass the extreme value of a spiritual connection to the natural world and the web of life which nourishes us all.

The Mules

Mayfield Equine Services trailer
Little Ethel getting shod
Jerrod Mayfield, Little Ethel and Mule
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Teva Sandals

On February 5, I posted on the 3Mules Facebook page that my favorite sandals were finally worn to the bone and that my Teva‘s are the best and longest lasting sandal of all sandals that I’ve worn in the past 25 years. The next day, Teva commented on our Facebook post:

“Hello John and Mules!
We have seen quite a few of your followers reach out to us about your journeys, and we are honored that our Teva’s have been your shoe of choice for the last 25 Years. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories through your blog, website and Facebook as these are the stories that people not only want to hear but should hear. Who could not use some amazing down to earth travel stories through nature the way it was intended? Teva loves those that live for moments of discovery and awe.

It brings us joy when people find newness and wonder in each new experience — from every day to epic and we feel like you embody this perfectly. We really enjoyed taking the time to read about your travels and the amazing company of mules that you take care of. It would be our privilege to be a part of the three mules nation. In such we would love to help you out with some new Teva’s so that you can continue your travels from San Diego to Sacramento and everywhere in between. Please reach out to us in private messages so we can discuss in further detail all the information. We look forward to hearing from you.”

Teva, Teva.com

I responded back to Teva in a private message and they answered back with a link to select which model sandal we wanted and other info needed.

Yesterday, our new Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal sandals in Wavy Trail Black arrived. These sandals fit perfectly. Thank you Teva for sending us another pair of great comfortable sandals and the many people who wrote Teva asking if they would send the Mules another pair.

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Pozo, California

In the early 1800’s, 17-miles southeast of Santa Margarita, Salinan Indians settled in the area. The village was located in a hole-like valley, thus the proposed name for the town was Pozo, which means “well” or “hole” in Spanish. When California became part of the United States in 1850, homesteading began and the Pozo community grew.

On March 3, 1857, the United States Congress created the Butterfield Overland Mail Company, a stagecoach service that carried passengers and U.S. Mail from Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California. The route lasted from 1857 to 1861 and became one of the most important roads in the early settlement and development of California. The road through Pozo originally was the main route from the San Luis Obispo area to the Central Valley, Bakersfield and beyond.

Pozo is home to the still thriving Pozo Saloon, established in 1858. During its early years, the Pozo Saloon was the primary watering hole for weary travelers making their way over Pozo Summit.

Two days ago, the Mules left Santa Margarita and are taking the historic Butterfield Overland Mail route to Bakersfield. Pozo Road, no longer the bustling major thoroughfare as it was in the 1800’s, has some of the most beautiful scenery that we’ve ever seen in California and has plenty of grass for the mules. We stopped at the Pozo Saloon watering hole.

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In the Interest of Justice

The Mules would like to thank Mr. Ilan Funke-Bilu for representing the Mules and the support and energy received this past week from the Nation the Three Mules Nation. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against the Mules, so our court appearance on March 23, 2020 will be unnecessary. Therefore, we are able to continue on our journey following the former Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach route east to Kern County. Message received yesterday from our attorney Mr. Funke-Bilu:

I am pleased to announce that District Attorney Dan Dow has advised me today, February 1, 2020, that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against my client, Mule, “in the interest of justice.” Mr. Dow is to be applauded for doing the right thing and doing the right thing swiftly. Mule was traveling across America as he has done for many years, bothering no one, minding his own business. America’s roads are designed for its citizens, its cars, its horses, its mules, its pedestrians, its travelers. Let’s share our roads and be mindful that some of us move a little slower on them. Mule teaches us that life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

It was an honor to represent an American icon.

Ilan Funke-Bilu, Attorney at Law – www.funke-bilu.com

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