On Father’s Day, we gifted Tom with chocolate cake, two new polo shirts (one bright yellow, one pale blue), Taco Bell for lunch, and beer-battered fish for dinner. All was great. Little did we know, our neighbor was plotting to ruin Father’s Day like the Grinch who stole Christmas.
Neighbor removed his gun and walking stick, and came armed only with a camera. A camera he had been stalking us with. Many mornings as we took the kids to school, he would be standing across the street from our home with camera in hand. On Father’s Day, he walked along the easement at the back on our home where our playground is located and aimed his camera at Tom. Tom ran into the house, grabbed our camera, told the kids to stay inside, and ran out the back door.
The neighbor retreated and continued up the road, sitting on a vacant lot he claims to own.
Tom called the Sheriff to complain about the photography directly into our back yard. A Sheriff arrived and actually had some difficulty finding our neighbor as he was fleeing, but neighbor finally succumbed to questioning. He even showed the officer the photos on his camera. Photos of the desert, his wife, his jeep, his friends, and one of Tom flipping him off several months ago. Convenient, the photos on that card.
The Officer didn’t appreciate that last photo, and began questioning us, informing us that photography was not against the law. I said I would get a restraining order, and he advised that I go ahead and do that.
Monday morning, the day after Father’s Day, I woke early and filled out the Injunction Against Harassment forms I found online. By 9am, I was at the city courthouse. I walked up to Window A and handed my paperwork across to the clerk. She handed some back saying they weren’t needed, then handed me some that were needed but not included online. She said they would fit me in, but I may have to wait a few hours.
At 10am, I heard a familiar voice in the lobby behind me. I turned and saw my neighbor! He was coming through security, talking to the officers. I got up and informed the clerk at the window that the man who was harassing me had just walked in! She told me to leave and come back in an hour. That hardly seemed like a solution. Leave?
I headed over to security, not sure where neighbor was now, and asked them what I should do. They pointed around the corner and said I should wait at Superior Court. The clerk at Window A was now helping neighbor, but glancing over his shoulder at me. When neighbor was done and sitting in the lobby of municipal court, the clerk came over to me. She said the neighbor was filing an Injunction Against Harassment against us, and that neighbor and I would both have to appear before the judge. She would come get me when it was time.
I felt ill. It was so nerve-racking. I didn’t know I’d have to see a judge. I thought some papers would be signed, filed and that’s it. But no, you have to speak to a judge.
Ninety minutes later, the clerk came to get me. She instructed me to sit at the left desk in front of the judge. Neighbor was at the right desk. I was sworn in and promised to tell the truth. I began speaking, but too softly. The judge told me to speak up! I tried, my voice was shaky, but I told him how the neighbor was photographing us. The judge said there’s no law against that, but he would grant my Injunction Against Harassment.
Now it was time for neighbor to speak. He said that he carried the camera for protection, and talked about how Tom drove quickly up the road the day the dog was attacking our chickens. The judge said there was no evidence of my husband doing anything wrong, but granted neighbor’s Injunction Against Harassment against Tom, not me.
The judge asked me to leave the room to get my paperwork, and told neighbor to stay in the courtroom for his. I stepped outside and back to Window A. Clerk gave me my signed paperwork, and told me to go to the Sheriff’s station in the Valley. I got in my car, and headed to the station.
When I pulled up, who should also be there? Yes, neighbor. I got out of my car and went to the door. The station was closed for lunch. Eight more minutes until the doors would be unlocked. Neighbor LAUGHED, then put his phone to his ear and began RANTING. No, his phone didn’t ring. Yes, he was harassing me while I stood there with my paperwork. He yelled, “There’s TRASH on every corner! TRASH on every corner!” I pulled out my phone and began recording him. He moved to the far end of the building but continued his rant. “We have to get evidence. Start working on that evidence. She lied about me in court. That’s slander. I’m going to sue her. I called the Sheriff last night because I thought they were going to jump me. You know how adrenaline is!” On and on he went. FINALLY a Sheriff came out. He walked over to where neighbor was having his phone-fit. He opened the door of his car, and sat in it, eying neighbor. Eying that freaky, creepy neighbor. Thank God.
Eight long minutes finally passed, and the door was unlocked. I slipped inside and told the man behind the desk that the person whom I was filing this injunction against was outside. He asked if we came together. Incredulous! No! We most certainly did not! I asked if he could be served right now. Wouldn’t that be convenient?! But desk-man said no, the paperwork had to go to the neighboring town, and the injunction would be served the next day.
I was done. I drove home. Longest day ever, but I felt so brave.
Prior to going to court, I searched property and court records. What I found out about neighbor was that he had been in court five times before. He had plead guilty twice; once to verbal telephone threats and once to assault. I also found out that he filed for divorce two years ago, and the vacant lot he was sitting on belongs to his wife. I wrote about this on the Injunction Against Harassment form. And the good thing about that is that neighbor received a copy of my form. He knows that I know he doesn’t own that land, that he has verbally and physically assaulted others. And we haven’t seen him since.