|Council Member Ricardo Pacheco,|
Council Member Raquel "Monica" Garcia &
Mayor Manuel Lozano (From left to right)
The Gang filed the TRO because in January of 2016, Tuttle was present at the same conference that they were at in Santa Barbara. There, because Tuttle was at the same hotel and restaurant they went to, the Gang felt stalked and threatened. So, in March of 2016, they asked for the court to label Tuttle as a stalker and ban him from being at the same locations as them.
|Waterboard Member Lanet Pacheco|
So, Tuttle then effectively countersued the Gang in small claims court in Santa Barbara. He alleged that the TROs were filed because the Gang wanted to punish him for investigating their corruption and to shut him up. Also, he alleged his right of privacy was violated because Ricardo, Lanet, and Garcia took his picture without his permission at a private restaurant and at the hotel.
Although the gang submitted hundreds of pages of briefing, which the court said was not allowed, the judge didn't read it before hand. As a result, they appeared to be unprepared for their hearing.
At court, Tuttle started with his opening argument. He explained to the court that he was suing on three claims: First Amendment retaliation, invasion to the right of privacy, and malicious prosecution. He explained his background that he was an activist that took a position against the City Council after the City Council tried to steal his business by attempting to condemn his property so that they could have it (and presumably resell it to developers).
He explained all the corruption he's exposed, including that the Mayor claims he goes on city trips and only pockets money in doing so. He then went into detail about how Monica reads his divorce proceeding aloud in the council meetings so that he stops coming to them.
Tuttle then called his attorney Paul Cook as a witness. Ricardo and Lozano objected. The court overruled them, stating Cook was only a witness.
Cook explained that the City had a "pervasive pattern" of punishing people who spoke out against them. He explained how the court already told Lozano that people have the right to protest them, when the Mayor tried to get a restraining order against him. Cook explained how the City had to settle his First Amendment claim in federal court for arresting, strip searching, and jailing him.
Finally, Cook told the court the nature of the TRO and how Ricardo and Lanet alleged he was an imminent threat to obtain a TRO without being able to present a defense. He said that the Mayor didn't even appear to his own TRO hearing, even though he was so allegedly afraid of Tuttle.
Cook stressed the point about how violating it was to have a TRO, based on lies filed against a citizen. That "these people" [the Gang] attempt to destroy the reputation of "honest and hardworking" people who speak out against them. And how the City spend taxpayer money to hire a city attorney to do so, when the citizen can't afford an attorney of his or her own.
The Gang went next and told their side of the story. In general, they appeared to feel sorry for themselves.
For instance, the Mayor said that Cook had "erratic and emotionally unstable" behavior. Lozano alleged that this was a political attack, since Tuttle and Cook really worked for the enemy Council Member Cruz Baca. Lozano crowed about how the TRO worked, since Cook no longer goes to council meetings to criticize him.
Monica went next. She said in a long monologue about how Tuttle had "alarming" behavior and was a stalker. She kept complaining that he called her a "political whore" and a "political prostitute." Monica told the court that Tuttle knew everything she was doing in her bedroom. Monica said that Tuttle knows everywhere I am, and he posts it on the internet. She said she was tired of him calling him "Honey," and that it got to the point where a TRO had to be filed.
She slipped up and admitted this wasn't her first filing of a TRO against a man. She brought up Tuttle's divorce and said he had problems with his daughter. Therefore, he is a sexist and a woman hater and that she did the right thing to file the TRO. She said, nonetheless, she respects the First Amendment.
The judge asked Lanet and Ricardo to only speak if they weren't going to repeat what wasn't already said. They said they had new facts to add.
Lanet stated that Cook was destroying their lives by publishing blog posts. She said that her daughter inquired whether it was true whether her father was really a rapist. Then she talked about how their lives are falling apart at the local Catholic church, because Tuttle arranges senior citizens to protest them with corruption signs. She said, "Nobody should live like this."
Ricardo stated that the TRO was necessary. He said that Tuttle only won the case because he went "judge shopping." The first judge agreed with Ricardo that the TRO needed to issue. Unfortunately, the second judge "didn't see things the same way."
Pacheco then stated that Cook accused his wife of being an illegal and that they had to explain that it wasn't true to their daughter. Then he accused Tuttle of organizing a senior group of coming to his home and stalking him and slashing their car tires. Ricardo said they're always being watched and followed, and that he organizes seniors to protest him at the church. Pacheco also stated that he needed to file a TRO because Tuttle said "He'd have him in handcuffs by the end of the year." Pacheco ended by stating that "This is not what this country is about."
The entire hearing appeared to be something that should've been more on Judge Judy than in superior court. The court said it had heard all the evidence and that it would need to time to render a decision. Tuttle told the court that, "This isn't about the money. Even if I won $1 that would be alright. It's just not right what these people are doing."
[Updated on Feb. 27, 2017: This article has been heavily revised to remove legalise. Thanks to my talented editor for the suggestion.]