In my previous asshat neighbor posts I recalled the details of the neighbor we found out in preparation for court because he filed a restraining order against Boyfriend after he (the asshat neighbor) trespassed on our property after we asked him nicely to shut his dogs up. Because seriously, barking for 5 or sometimes 10 hours at a time just isn't annoying. At. All.
After Boyfriend's first court appearance, which was for the judge to see if Mr. Asshat wanted to pursue the restraining order and if Boyfriend rejected or accepted it. Boyfriend rejected it, of course, stating a few facts. This meant the judge had to set aside an entire afternoon aside to hear testimony from all parties involved.
She set the date for mid-January. We were all planning to attend - me, Boyfriend, and Grandma. Unfortunately, by the time the court date arrived, Grandma decided she didn't want to go because she "believed" that the judge only wanted to hear from those who witnessed what happened the night Boyfriend accidentally dinged their front door with the flashlight - and that the trespassing incident wouldn't be talked of. When the judge asked where she was, Boyfriend told her that his Grandma's health has been bad since the start of the entire situation - which was actually true. She woke us up in the middle of the night once worried she had a clot in her lung. Turned out she didn't and the ER doctors said it was her arrhythmia.
The judge already had our paperwork we submitted in our response to the restraining order. We didn't realize that we could submit any new evidence. Oddly enough, Mr. Asshat did; he brought letters of recommendation from previous tenants. Looked a bit falsified to me. He brought his entire family. Boyfriend only had me. The judge asked that all witnesses sit outside while testimony was in progress so that future testimony wouldn't be influenced. That meant that I was sooooooooooooooo lucky to have the . . . um, privilege of sitting on the most uncomfortable benches ever with Mr. Asshat's wife, two daughters, son, and 2 year old grandson. Which by the way, that toddler was the loudest child I've ever met in my life. Now, I fully realize that the courthouse hall walls echo the sounds made on the marble floors. And that sometimes toddlers like to hear that echo. This toddler didn't give a shit. He just ran up and down the hallway - stomping everywhere. I swear that a herd of horses would be quieter in those halls. He kept trying to get in the courtroom. And what did Mom (the 21 year old with a second in the oven) do? Nothing. What the aunt and uncle do (especially while Mom was in the courtroom testifying)? Tried to continuously bribe the kid with chocolate. Which worked for about oooohhhhhh 3 seconds.
Also? It wasn't just the seats that were uncomfortable. I had to sit outside the courtroom for at least two hours before I was called in. I had to sit outside the courtroom with the entire family. Of course, I wasn't allowed to speak to them even if I wanted to.
When I was finally called in, I wasn't asked to sit at the witness stand. I was told to sit in a juror chair. The judge thanked me for my patience and explained to me that Mr. Asshat would ask me some questions and after that Boyfriend would be able to ask me questions and she would interject as she saw fit or ask questions herself. I was so nervous; I've never been in court before, never been in front of a judge. It's not cool, man.
Mr. Asshat began asking me a few questions regarding the night in question and I answered honestly. He said that our houses are roughly 400 yards apart and with our windows closed, TV on, and cooking dinner, we shouldn't hear his dogs. The judge interjected, by saying that 400 yards is 4 football fields (um . . . duh) and asked if I thought that seemed right. I told her that to me, it looked more like 1 to 1.5 football fields and turned to Mr. Asshat and said, "The dogs sound like they are in our yard barking. Just because the windows are closed doesn't mean they're sound proof." He asked me how a simple flashlight could make such a ding in the door as it's solid oak (or whatever wood) unless it was swung on purpose with a great amount of force. I replied with, "It's a large, heavy duty maglite that weighs a good couple of pounds and is at least one foot long. Boyfriend was talking with his hands and the flashlight accidentally hit the door. There was no intention behind it." Mr. Asshat tried asking a few questions but never got around to the question, which annoyed the judge who would eventually break in and ask the question for him. At one point she asked him, "It's not as easy as it looks on TV, is it?" I nearly laughed out loud.
Boyfriend really only had one question for me. "When the flashlight hit the front door, did it appear that I swung the flashlight across my body as if to hit someone and missed?" I know a look of confusion swept over my face, because where did that question come from?! I answered honestly, "No. You didn't swing the flashlight across your body and you didn't swing it at anyone. If you had swung it, it would have hit the left door which stayed closed during the conversation."
The judge asked a few questions, like if alcohol was involved in with Boyfriend to which I replied that he'd had a beer with dinner. She also asked what we had had for dinner. Being that it had been three months prior my honest answer was that I couldn't remember.
In the end, she upheld the restraining order. For three years. And Boyfriend would have to give up his firearms and turn in proof within 48 hours.
Her reason? Had nothing to really do with the incident with the front door of Mr. Asshat's house. It had to do with Mr. Asshat trespassing on our property and Boyfriend having his 9mm at his side on video tape. However, by the time Boyfriend confronted Mr. Asshat, Mr. Asshat was on the street, not on our property and that Boyfriend knew who it was from the beginning.
The contradiction? The judge said it was "excessive" whereas the sheriff's deputy that showed up on the scene afterwards said Boyfriend had every right to have his weapon at his side.
After we left the courthouse, Boyfriend filled me in on what happened while I was waiting out in the hall with the lead-footed toddler hopped up on the chocolate he was bribed with to stay quiet. Supposedly, the "letters of recommendations" that Mr. Asshat had procured since the first court date from previous tenants of our house didn't sit well with the judge. I thought they looked like he'd typed them up himself; the judge thought he'd coached the people on what to say. All of his kids had tried telling the story that Boyfriend had swung the flashlight across his body to hit the oldest daughter and missed her and hit the door. Boyfriend always asked the same question which stumped them and laid out the lie they were telling - "wouldn't the ding on the door be on the other door considering I'm right handed and the flashlight was in my right hand?" None of them had an answer for that.
Being that the judge upheld the restraining order, she ordered Boyfriend to get rid of any and all guns he owned within 48 hours. He had to go to a licensed gun dealer, who had to sign a court document that he had taken in said guns, and then Boyfriend had to take that back to the court for proof. Which he did.
Since the court date, Mr. Asshat's dogs have continued to bark, they've been on our property and they've taken large shits in our yard and by our cars. We have found other weird stuff off and on; stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense. And we have been caught in a limbo as the sheriff's department won't do anything, because they don't dispatch out for barking dogs and tell us to call animal control. Animal control, for outside the city limits, is manned by one person, so to get a call-back is near impossible. And with the restraining order, we can't go over and ask them to shut their dogs up. We continued to call the sheriff's department at least once a week to complain.