Attempt to quash restraining order by husband of Los Gatos councilmember denied

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Santa Clara County Superior Court - Civil Building
Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse (Civil) - Photo by Drew Penner / Los Gatan

Before the Monday hearing on a restraining order against Jeffrey Scott, the husband of Councilmember Marico Sayoc, got underway, “The Voice of San Jose,” Angela Tirado—who just so happened to be in the Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse in connection with another matter—sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” in the hallway.

As Cyndi Sheehan waited for the civil harassment suit she’d filed against Scott to come up, she replayed the moment on her phone, for all to hear.

Filming that video (in addition to the selfie one supporter took in the hallway), is technically illegal.

Scott was hit with a temporary restraining order after Sheehan and another protester brought up personal details about their son during the Oct. 5 Council meeting. He’d burst into the building to confront them using aggressive language.

Scott has also subpoenaed the Los Gatan seeking reporter’s notes and other materials from that evening.

While waiting for Monday’s hearing, one of Sheehan’s supporters handed out a flyer promoting the film Whose Children are They?, which rails against Critical Race Theory, and other perceived or actual educational woes.

“I’m so proud of those truckers,” said a Canadian—one of the people in attendance at the meeting that led to the restraining order—who is originally from Manitoba. He was referring to the recent anti-vaccine-mandate protests north of the border. A sentence later and he’d managed to segue into the topic of hydroxychloroquine, and the conduct of editors at the medical journal the Lancet.

Sheehan thanked one man who’d shown up but had to leave early.

“I’ve gotta go clean a carpet,” he said, urging her to call into a talk radio program after the hearing. “We’ve still got them.”

A bailiff reminded the approximately 15-strong crowd to abide by mask rules. He said he’d already gotten two calls about it and hoped his sergeant wouldn’t have to get involved.

Lynley Kerr Hogan, 54, who was front-and-center during Scott’s outburst in the Council foyer, said she believes Sheehan wouldn’t have filed the restraining order had Scott written a nice apology letter in the aftermath.

“We’re here right now because a man could not control himself and let his feelings take over,” she said. “And that’s what’s wrong with society. We’re letting our feelings take over.”

Just before 11:30am, everyone filed into the courtroom and Scott only spoke to introduce himself to Judge Carol Overton.

He was represented by two lawyers, BJ Fadem and Nicole Ford. Sheehan, in a white-striped black suit, advocated for herself.

Fadem, attempting to quash the temporary restraining order, put forth two case law submissions he said prove his client never made a “credible threat.”

Scott never hit anyone and his case law submission involved actual battery, Fadem said.

“In this particular case we don’t even have physical contact,” he said, adding even if his client had threatened Sheehan’s life, that alone wouldn’t necessarily count as potential for actual future violence. “It’s insufficient.”

Neither the judge nor Sheehan were up to speed on the two examples, so the proceedings went off-the-record while they did some research.

Meanwhile, the carpet cleaner returned without a mask on, and was told to go get one.

“I have a medical condition,” he tried.

He was told to put one on, show an order from the judge—or get out.

“It’s all b.s.,” he said, before Overton cut in.

“I’m really trying to read some case law,” she said of the distraction.

“It’s all b.s., is what I’m saying,” the man replied in a relatively friendly tone.

“I completely agree,” one bailiff said, as he ushered the mask-averse man out.

Overton wasn’t able to find one of the cases cited by Scott’s team, who decided it would be more of a hassle than it’s worth to run to their office to get another copy.

That case essentially made the same point anyways, Fadem noted.

Sheehan didn’t quite seem to understand the meaning of the late-breaking case law add-on.

“My argument is: I do have a valid case,” she said, apparently confused about why she wasn’t allowed to present evidence at this stage.

Originally, the judge was planning to hold the demurrer and order to show cause hearings on the same day, but earlier cases had left too little time to accomplish both.

The carpet cleaner returned sporting a mask.

“Your honor, just so you know, we’re all here for Cyndi,” he said.

In the end, Overton sided with Sheehan and overruled the demurrer, scheduling a two-day hearing to begin March 28. She also extended the temporary restraining order against Scott until then.

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]