Jeff Lewis prevails in Appeal Challenging Misuse of California’s Anti-Harassment Statute, Code of Civil Procedure, Section 527.6

California’s Civil Harassment Restraining statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6 provides a framework for people truly victimized by stalkers to obtain an injunction against credible, actual threats of violence or true “harassment” (as legally, distinctly defined by Section 527.6) that reasonably, actually caused the victim “substantial emotional distress.” 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. On April 26, 2019, the California Second District Court of Appeal issued its decision dissolving the injunction, agreeing firmly with the Lewis Law firm’s insufficiency of evidence challenge. The Court of Appeal found “insufficient evidence the complained-of harassment actually caused substantial emotional distress.”

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 Dan Dunbar and Cynthia Dunbar in order to butress Mr. Dunbar’s invalid petition for protection through issuance of an illegally granted restraining order. Due to this 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 felony conviction), unserved jail sentence but served house arrest, and other related matters.

Following the unlawful issuance of the illegal restraining order, Mr. and Mrs. Dunbar attempted to leverage the restraining order against Mr. Lewis’ client by making false allegations to the police department and District Attorney that the order had been violated. However, following the District Attorney learning that the Los Angeles Superior Court issued the protective order illegally, the District Attorney dismissed all of the Dunbars’ allegations. 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.

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