I would like to say that court was not a circus yesterday, mostly because the judge had things quite in control.
He started the thing out by saying this isn't the People's Court, Judge Judy and a list of them, this is a court of law, etc etc etc. Went into his rather impressive and long list of his credentials and then got down to business.
To completely write out over an entire hour's worth of discussion back and forth between the judge, 350 man and I would simply take too much time, at least at this particular point in the day. As I had hoped, however, 350 pound man didn't need to say a whole lot before the judge started jumping all over his case.
350 man admitted that he had told Mark he had to leave. He admitted looking over my fence and taking pictures and then quoted a law that he had probably broken by doing so. He brought the pictures to court - which made him look even worse. Started telling the judge that I can't do this and I can't do that on my property. THAT is the point where the judge let it all loose.
Who are YOU to tell ANYONE what they can do on their own property? I am a homeowner, if someone came over to MY house and started telling me what to do with MY property, I would tell them to bug off. This went on for quite a while. In fact, this judge was telling 350 man ALL about how HE would feel as a homeowner with some neighbor coming over, sticking his nose into his personal business. He even went as far as to say that he has a neighbor that for whatever reason, they don't get along. Instead of starting trouble with each other, they ignore each other if one happens to be walking by.
So, there it was. This thing progressed. I told the judge about the threats of physical harm and this and that. 350 man denied all of it. Of course, what else could he do? Sit there and say yes, I am going to have my prison buddies come over and take care of him?
We got into the cat subject. 350 man was under the impression that I cannot place traps on my own property. The judge lit into him again, lol. On MY property, I can do anything I want to. The judge, however, turned to me and asked if I had a trap on my property. I couldn't lie, so I didn't. He then said I could plead the 5th if I wanted to, but have I ever harmed or killed any of the neighborhood cats? This asked after 350 man claimed that I had stated to him thatI had told him that "all cats should be dead. Just kill them all", a thing I have NEVER said to anyone in my entire life. I am not a cat lover, but that does not therefore make the HUGE leap to automatically mean that all cats must die.
Then 350 man said that the woman that lives behind me - who was sitting in the court room and had come as a witness on his behalf - had had to jump my fence, come into my back yard and let a cat out. ???!!!!! I turned around and looked at that woman: YOU were in MY backyard? She is very lucky I did not CATCH her in my back yard. I would have detained her and had her arrested. The ordinance about catching cats is clear: even if I KNOW whose cat it is, if I catch it on my property, I can legally hold onto for up to 24 hours before letting it loose.
Now I have sworn statements that 350 man is peering into windows - with the judge giving him a stern warning about surreptitious photography - and a woman coming into my back yard, over a fence, without my permission. The meth head was also there in court as well as 350 man's mother. I had thought more might show up. The woman that lives behind me? I have seen her maybe 5 times, total, in the 7 plus years I have lived here.
The judge asked all of the potential witnesses if any of them had actually been there when any of the things I had written out in my complaint happened. He went into a lengthy explanation about that, Mark was the only one that raised his hand and Mark was the only one that was allowed to testify. That was a blow right there to 350 man's plan. I was also able to bring up0 350 man's prison record. That certainly didn't help his case at all.
The defining moment was less than 5 minutes into the hearing. The judge looked at 350 man and said flatly: From everything I have heard here, I am not hearing ANYTHING that would cause me to want to change, drop or modify this order at all. 350 man's face turned ashen. In fact, by the time the hearing was over, he was looking very sickly, he is not used to having someone talking to him like that and not being able to start getting angry and shouting obscenities and general foulness back.
I will admit here that I hate going to court. I don't care if I'm right and have the law behind me, I generally find having to defend myself in situations like this to be unpleasant. I love going to court and WATCHING other cases, that's always fun, especially if both parties haven't got a clue and the judge starts getting ancy about all of it.
Anyway, the judge then admonished the entire crowd, including Mark and I. You are all grown adults, you should be able to talk to each other and work things out, etc etc etc. After he was done, I stated that I had gone to all persons present and attempted to discuss what to do about their cats coming onto my yard and destroying my property. The judge then said I should build a fence. I didn't bother to say that fences don't stop cats, they are like a pebble in the street to a cat, they just step over it. I simply stated that I cannot build a fence out front of my property, I already have one and the law doesn't allow it any higher.
350 man then started to dictate to me the law and how I could build one - when the judge interrupted him again and for the 5th time: who are YOU to tell HIM how to live on HIS property?!!: If you have a problem with the way he is living, then call the law, the city, let THEM deal with it - but then went into how it will only make the situation FAR worse if he does so. WORK IT OUT. The judge turned back to me: I am going to keep this order in place. However, I hope that after some time passes and if you 2 can live in peace with each other, IF that happens, that you might consider coming back in before the year is up and ask the court to drop the order.
I said fine and I would do so if such were the case. I went further: If my neighbors - all that were present - want to discuss ways to keep cats off of my property I am certainly willing to get into that discussion as I really don't want a war with my neighbors.
That was it, though I left out a lot of the details of some of the things that were said - just would go on too long. We got home and after it was apparently that "they" had also gotten home, I spoke very loudly towards April and Sam's property (April being the woman who jumped over my fence): I KNOW city code as well as you do. If you want a war, both of your properties behind me are code violations. I can report all of this junk and you will have a lot of fun dealing with the aftermath. If you want to be NEIGHBORS, then start ACTING like neighbors and get OVER it.
Sam does not want that kind of trouble - the city would have a field day over there. Well, I let that go and went out front to do some more work on the front of the property. After about 10 minutes, Sam came driving by in his pickup, completely ignoring me. I yelled out very loudly: HI SAMMMM! He SLAMMED on his brakes, skidding in the middle of the street, put his vehicle in reverse, backed up. What is going on here? Is he going to start a fight or something? He gets his truck to where his window is where I am standing. I waved again: Hi Sam! Howdy neighbor. I said it again, he said howdy neighbor again.
I got it, he had heard what I had said back there and the last thing he wants is THAT kind of attention from the city. I am hopeful that the judge's admonition that perhaps we could work out something about the cats will actually get some kind of foothold and we can now possibly discuss what to do about it, versus all of them shrugging their shoulders when I have brought it up to them and saying it isn't their problem, tough, deal with it. However, April - the woman that jumped my fence - told the judge, not in the witness chair but she had been making noises at some of my statements and laughing a few times - had addressed her in court. She stated: "I have been harassed by him. He leans over my fence and shouts at me every day!".
For the record, I have NEVER shouted at any of those people. The last time I saw her out there, we had a pleasant conversation - which was over a year ago.
Well, whatever. I still have Mark and Lynnette to deal with: what to do with them when the city comes and apparently it's a foregone conclusion that they are going to have to move out of that thing. We are discussing a travel trailer park over in Mesa at $200 per month. That's the kind of price they were looking for. I am still waiting for the City to come out and give an official notice and a time limit that they have to be moved out. Again, the City cannot supersede state law in an eviction, which is exactly what that would be. I am still guessing that perhaps one of the tenants might leave before that time limit would ever come up and then they can simply move into whatever vacated room in the house.
Whatever the case, it's Friday, my time has run out and I need to leave for work.