Jeff Lewis prevails in Appeal Challenging Misuse of California’s Anti-Harassment Statute, Code of Civil Procedure, Section 527.6
California’s Civil Harassment statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6 provides a framework for people truly victimized to obtain an injunction against credible, actual threats of violence or true “harassment” (as legally, distinctly defined by Section 527.6). This California law, however, was not passed in order to provide protection to a non-victim who, upon realizing he/she does not have a valid legal claim, determines to induce a judge into granting an order via the fabrication of baseless, unsubstantiated allegations and falsification of evidence, under the penalty of perjury. Jeff Lewis has been representing a party who until recently had been restrained unlawfully by such a Section 527.6 injunction issued illegally by California Superior Court Judge Gary Tanaka. Judge Gary Tanaka issued his invalid order following the issuance on June 1, 2017 by Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey of a restraining order protecting Mr. Lewis’s client and his family from Palos Verdes Estates neighbor Cindy Dunbar. On April 26, 2019, the California Court of Appeal unanimously agreed with Mr. Lewis’s client, deciding to dissolve the illegal CHRO as invalidly issued. The Court of Appeal agreed that 1) there was no threat of violence by his client – instead Daniel Dunbar at best had been misinformed by Cindy Dunbar, 2) Mr. Lewis’s client had not illegally harassed Dan Dunbar and 3) the due process to which Mr. Lewis’s client was legally entitled had not been provided in order to determine whether or not Mr. Lewis’ client illegally had harassed Cindy Dunbar. Upon learning that the Court of Appeal had dissolved the illegal CHRO obtained following false declarations by Cindy and Dan Dunbar, the District Attorney determined to dismiss all charges against Mr. Lewis’ client.
Importantly, the Court of Appeal accepted and acknowledged legally recorded audio evidence (submitted by Jeff Lewis’ illegally restrained client). Such audio recording disproved materially false statements and declarations, made under penalty of perjury, by Petitioner Dan Dunbar and his wife Cindy Dunbar. Such false statements presumably were made by Daniel Dunbar and Cynthia Dunbar in order to buttress Dan Dunbar’s invalid petition for protection through issuance of an illegally granted restraining order. Due to failure of evidence, the Court of Appeal did not need to address the Lewis firm’s First Amendment argument that the restraining order was an illegal prior restraint. Torrance Superior Court Judge Gary Tanaka explicitly sought to deprive Jeff Lewis’ client of his constitutional right to inform neighbors truthfully of his Palos Verdes Estates neighbor Cindy Dunbar’s drug related criminal record (including, for a period of time, a 2010 felony conviction), unserved jail sentence but served house arrest, and other related matters.
Following the unlawful issuance of the illegal restraining order, Daniel and Cynthia Dunbar attempted to leverage the restraining order against Mr. Lewis’ client by making false allegations of petty order violations and other baseless, unsubstantiated claims to the police department and District Attorney. However, upon the District Attorney learning that the Los Angeles Superior Court issued the protective order illegally following the declaration of false allegations by the Dunbars, the District Attorney dismissed all of the Dunbars’ charges. Jeff Lewis’ client never spent one minute in a courtroom relating to the dismissed, false allegations. You can access the opening brief filed in this case here, the appellant’s reply brief here and the opinion here.