This is a story of events that occurred to me about 7 years ago, events which resulted in my CWP being revoked. It took me six months, multiple hearings, an administrative appeal, and several thousand dollars in attorney fees to finally clear my name. Let this serve as a warning to others that this can happen to you.
It began on Saint Patrick’s day in 2004, when my live in girlfriend announced that she wanted to see other people and moved out. During the time we were living together, her car had broken down, and I had been letting her drive my second car while she was awaiting repairs. The car was 100% mine, and my name was the only one on the title and registration. She had also been using a second cell phone on my Nextel account. (Trust me, I am not rambling- this is all important later)
When she moved out, I turned off the cell phone and I asked for my car back. She refused. I called the cops, but they told me that since I had given her the keys, it was a civil matter. I didn’t know where she had moved to, so my car was gone. A month later, I saw the car parked at the mall, but there was a “club” on the steering wheel. I had it towed to my house.
That night, she came to my house at 2 in the morning, pounding on my door and demanding that I give her the car back. I told her to go away, and she refused. I called the police. They arrived, and explained to me that I had to let her in the house, because she had a 2 month old bill with her name and my address on it, and that constituted enough proof in their minds that she lived with me.
They told me that I had to let her get her stuff. I told him that I wanted her to give me back the keys to the car. The cop said, “Car? What car?” I told him that the car was parked right around the other side of the apartment. He said, “If I I don’t see a car, there is no car.” He then asked me to put my hands on the wall and frisked me. He then made me stand in my living room in “the position” with my hands on the wall.
While that was going on, he let her into my apartment, where she proceeded to steal about $2,000 of my stuff and began loading it into the car. I pointed that out, and he said that my ex-girlfriend was claiming it to be hers. I asked him to run the tags. He refused and told me not to tell him how to do his job. (Note here that they had no problem getting involved in the “civil matter” on her side, but would not get involved on my behalf.)
I told the cop that my arms were getting tired and asked if I could wait outside. He told me that was fine, so I grabbed my set of keys to that car (that she had helpfully removed the “club” from) and walked outside.
While the ex was in the house with the cops getting more of my stuff, I got in the car and drove it down the street. I pulled the wires from the computer to the distributor out of the car and tossed them in the bushes before heading back to my place.
When I got back, the cop asked me where the car was. I pointed out to him that if he didn’t see a car, there was no car. He became furious and told me I was under arrest for auto theft and obstructing a LEO. He even put the cuffs on me. I told him that he had just made my day, and he was going to get sued for wrongful arrest. I pointed out that he was arresting me for stealing my own car, and since this was a “civil matter” and therefore no crime had occurred, there was nothing for me to obstruct. He must have realized that he had screwed up, because a few minutes later he took the cuffs off and let me go.
The next day, there was a sheriff’s deputy at my door with a domestic violence injunction, ordering me to appear at a hearing a week later. At the hearing, she produced a statement that I had been beating her while we were together. No witnesses, no police reports, no medical records, no marks on her, no corroborating evidence of any kind, just her say-so. It turns out that there is a “domestic violence victims advocates office” at the court house that coaches these women on what to say, and juggles the judicial calendar to make sure they get sympathetic judges. (Witness tampering?)
While in court, she began crying, and told the judge that I had taken away “her” phone, and that I had taken away “her” car, and left her with no way to get to work. She also told the judge that she was afraid of me because I owned a lot of guns.
This infuriated the judge, and he ordered me to turn my guns in to the police, revoked my CCW, and ordered me to provide her with a cell phone at my expense. While doing this, he said, “Is this true? You own two cars, and she doesn’t have one?”
I replied that this was true, and he said “Not any more. Give her one. In fact, give her the car you drove in here today. You can hitch a ride or take a cab, for all I care.” Now I wasn’t about to give her my primary car, which was worth much more than the one she had been driving, so I lied and told him that the car I arrived in wasn’t mine. The judge then ordered me to deliver the car to the courthouse the following day, also entering into the order that the car have “No defects, nothing wrong with it, and it had better have a full tank of gas, or I will hold you in contempt.”
My attorney objected, and pointed out to the judge that my girlfriend and I had never been married, had no children together, and he was therefore not within the law to enter such an order. The judge told him to sit down and shut up.
He also said that since my 2 jobs as a paramedic could potentially bring me near her, that I was prohibited from going to work. One job was willing to work with me and came up with a plan for vacation and administrative reassignment, the other one fired me the next day. The one willing to work with me (the fire department) placed me on paid suspension. I was told that if the order was made final, they would have to terminate me.
Luckily, the attorney had forewarned me about the anti-gun attitude of this particular judge, and I had already sold all of my guns to my brother in law for $10 two days earlier. Since this was not a final judgment, we could not appeal. The judge also said that my taking away “her” car and phone was a kind of violence, in that I was using my financial influence and the threat of firearms to control her.
For the next five months, we had numerous hearings, and I was eventually able to return to my fire department job. I had to endure her showing up everywhere I went. I started making sure I had witnesses wherever I was, so that she couldn’t accuse me of anything. I hung out with friends and family, so that way it wouldn’t be my word against hers.
It would go like this: I would be at a sports bar owned by my partner, and she would show up and call the police. Since I was there first, they couldn’t arrest me, but they would make me leave. She would go grocery shopping at the store across the street from my house, and tell the cops I was watching her from my window, and they would come over and hassle me. She called the cops and told them her doctor’s office was in my mom’s neighborhood, and they would even throw me out of my mom’s house, and make me leave until she was finished at the doctor.
One night, she called me and told me that the whole thing would go away if I paid her $10,000 in cash and let her keep the car. I refused. My attorney was finally able to trip the judge on a legal technicality and got him recused from the case. With a new judge, we got the whole thing thrown out, and I got my car back. By the time I got it, it had been damaged by some sort of tool or keys. Someone had drawn large male genitalia in the side of the car by scratching it into the side of the car with a sharp object. My deductible for the insurance claim was $750.
Another month, $1,100 in fees, and some administrative appeals later, I managed to get my CWP back. I bought the guns from my brother in law, and my life returned to normal.
All of this was done on a statement filled out by her, with no witnesses, and no evidence whatsoever. I discovered that when you get in front of these judges, you are at their mercy. They can ruin your life.
Theresa · March 14, 2011 at 6:13 am
Did anyone ever think about getting her a psych eval? Yikes, what a nut case!! Could you get her for stalking you? Wow.I'd like to have seen her get reported. That's just flat out crazy! Glad you have your life back. Sorry you had to go through that.
Anonymous · March 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm
If there are any family attorneys reading your blog, I'd be curious what the best way to deal with this – proactively – would be.
It seems kind of cold, but I'm wondering if something like a rental agreement on the car for $1/year with contract terms requiring release of the vehicle upon "change of address" would have resolved the car issue, and it would seem that getting her own phone on her own plan, in her own name, even if you're paying for it, solves that one.
And the biggie – I'm wondering if proactively filing a domestic violence complaint and filing a theft report on the car immediately upon breakup wouldn't be the way to go. We're constantly reminded to be the first one to call 911 if we're ever involved in a self defense shooting because whomever calls first is assumed to be the victim, so maybe being the first to file a complaint does the same thing.
Given the bias courts have toward females and against males, reasonable self defense measures seem, well, reasonable.
Divemedic · March 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm
It gets better. She sent me a friend request on Facebook two months ago. I blocked her.
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