Nanny State

Court Tethers Old Man to SoCal for Letting Dog Off Leash


John Gladwin, a 69-year-old Army veteran, "must allow home visits by a federal probation officer, file monthly activity reports and … must get written authorization anytime he leaves the massive Central District covering most of Southern California," details LA Weekly. The government chooses to monitor this retiree and restrict his movement, though he's never committed a violent crime or sold illegal drugs or weapons. No, he let his dog, Molly, off her leash to play just beyond their yard in the vast expanse of Santa Monica Mountains.

The thing is, Molly has never actually caused trouble with hikers or others in these mountains, which are divided among four different authorities – California State Parks, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and U.S. National Park Service – and each have different rules. But he's twice been caught in federal territory just hundreds of feet from his own property and has been prosecuted for violating a leash law. Now, "if he's caught with so much as a foot in the park, which stretches 50 miles from the Hollywood Hills to Point Mugu, [Gladwin] will go to jail."

Gladwin is riding out a 12-month probation for what seems like a few unfortunate encounters with officials on power trips. From the Weekly:

Supervisory Park Ranger Bonnie Clarfield, of the U.S. Department of Interior, testified against Gladwin at his November 2013 and April 2014 trials. Colleagues have teasingly dubbed her the "dog narc" — for her strict enforcement of leash laws during her 33 years on the job.

Things came to a head before Gladwin's first trial, during the government shutdown last Nobember:

Clarfield had stayed on the job that night, and spotted Gladwin and the dog. She was all set to give him a warning — until she recognized his name, by then infamous to the rangers. Clarfield issued him a citation — requiring a court appearance.

Clarfield isn't the only one that's opted to be tough on Gladwin. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon McCaslin, who hands most misdemeanors for the Central District, told the Weekly, "I've never had someone, while a trial was pending, go and commit the same offense. He's incorrigible. … He thinks the park is his backyard."

Gladwin has twice opted to go to trial rather than accept a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney.

"[McCaslin's] job is to make sure that nobody goes to trial," Gladwin says of the prosecutor's misdemeanor caseload. "That's strike No. 1 against me, because I chose to go to trial." He believes McCaslin is using his case as a learning experience for her law student interns.

"These people need push-back. They're just wasting resources," Gladwin says. "Now it's all been about punishing me. To what end?"

Gladwin says that "the probation department doesn't even take it seriously" and that it seems like a lot of government resources going to waste to hammer him, since he's changed his route and takes Molly on walks on private land. 

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  1. What they’re not telling you, is that Molly is actually his pet dinosaur.

  2. I was hiking above Malibu and saw a “Conservancy” police SUV pull into the parking lot at the trail head. Yep. They have Conservancy Police. Nothing left to cut.

    1. But is there a Malibu Clinic police?

      1. +1 Cleveland reset

  3. Read the article – not sure this guy is any kind of exemplar.

    Why is it the dogs must be the ones to suffer?
    [Don’t answer that, Balko!]

    1. Why not?

      1. I just get a vibe he’s being a purposeful PITA as much as anything else – there may be no good guys, here.

        1. Being a PITA to petty bureaucrats, their jackbooted minions, without causing any harm to a real person is a long, long way from not being a good guy.

          1. ^ This.

            The more people push back, and the more people clog up the court system with fights against bullshit regulatory bullying, the more we win.

            Everybody everywhere should do this.

  4. The park is for show only.

  5. Gladwin has twice opted to go to trial rather than accept a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney.

    Obviously this man gets what he deserves for not respecting authority!

  6. “These people need push-back. They’re just wasting resources,” Gladwin says.

    Bureaucrats, armed or not, wasting resources? Never.

    1. It’s only waste when the other TEAM does it!

  7. Keep your ugly fucking goldbricking ass out of my beach community.

    1. Mr. McCaslin draws a lot of water in this town. You don’t draw shit, Gladwin!

  8. Why is this dog still alive? Was your gun jammed?

  9. Once again we see that the ultimate result of laws and government, no matter how petty, results in force. It doesn’t matter that all he did was not leash his dog. It’s a rule, and the government will see it enforced all the way up to imprisoning him (or even killing him should he resist). And the government and its employees will do it with gusto.

    1. The worst part is they’ll sleep good at night, thinking their actions actually benefited someone.

      1. Oh, their actions did benefit someone. Themselves. They got to exercise their AUTHORITAH.

      2. Trees don’t like getting peed on.

        1. But if a tree, shrub or bush does like it, that’s their personal preference and we should respect it.

          1. The Episiarch Defense.

          2. Way to check their piss privilege!

  10. He thinks the park is his backyard.”

    Unless I misread the article, the park is his back yard.

    1. “That park isn’t yours! It’s public property!”

      1. The public, of course, consists of everybody except you.

  11. Failure to obey is the worst of all crimes. All he needs to do is punch a few cops and he’ll be Charlie Bronson.

    1. I had a cop pull me for speeding once. Asked why I was going 71 in a 55, and I said “Well, honestly, there’s nobody else on the road, it’s a beautiful day, and I wasn’t even paying attention to my speedometer.”

      “You still have to obey the speed limit.”

      “Well, guess I don’t, cause you pulled me for something. You gonna write me a ticket or what?”

      He wrote me a ticket, and I paid a lawyer $100 to get it reduced to improper equipment. Fuck that cop.

      1. I had a cop pull me over for speeding, and I had been behind him for 10 miles as he was driving 78 in a 55. When he asked me if I knew how fast I was going, I said “Yes, exactly the same speed you were going. Here’s the deal: If you write me a ticket, I’ll subpoena your dash-cam tapes and your dispatch logs, and you can explain to the judge why you think traffic laws don’t apply to you. You’re obviously not responding to an emergency. As a public employee in a publicly owned motor-vehicle on a public road, you’re supposed to be setting the example for other motorists, and I was simply following that example. Now, if you were driving unsafely, and I shouldn’t follow your example please state that now while you’re recording this. If you weren’t driving unsafely, and I was following your example, then there’s no reason for you to write me a ticket, is there?” He was pissed, but I didn’t get a ticket.

        1. *bows deeply in awe*

          Lucky you weren’t shot. You have a big brass set of nuts.

          1. Oh it was obvious that he wanted to kick my ass, but it was also obvious that I wasn’t going to roll over and play his game. I have no problem following speeding cops to their destination, asking for ID, and calling their duty sergeant while they’re standing there. They do this shit because we let them do it.

      2. The only ticket I ever got out of was when I pointed out to the judge that the cop had written the wrong make and model of car on the ticket. The judge burst out laughing and dismissed it.

        1. “Your Worship, I think whoever was driving that green AMC Hornet without a muffler or tailpipes at 80 mph through a school zone should get a ticket. Since I don’t have a green AMC Hornet, that would not be me.”

        2. A cop once tried to give me a ticket in 1988 for doing 75 mph. I was driving a 1980 Plymouth Horizon.

          I told the cop, “This car can’t go 75. The judge will laugh you out of court.”

          He let me go. Probably because it sounded like I would take it to court. I was a student and had no monetary incentive to keep me out of court.

    2. He ran 90 miles (140 km) away from the scene to his parents’ home, where he was apprehended.[13] The driver of the car survived the collision so Bronson got off lightly, receiving yet more fines and probation.

      That whole article is worth a read. JFC.

      1. His fitness book is worth a read. It’s the only fitness book I know of with a chapter on jelquing.

        1. I had to look that up. What a wonderful world this guy inhabits. Are his chromosomes freaking XXXX?

  12. If he knew how to use common law, he’d have them on the ropes instead.

      1. Oh that’s easy.

        Common law 101

        File a lien on the judge, the prosecutor, the court report, hell even your defense attorney’s property.

        Fire you defense attorney during the trial – multiple times.

        Represent yourself.

        Never, for one second admit that you are the person listed on the indictment. Remember – all capital letters is the ‘corporate’ you and not he ‘real’ you.

        Send back notices from the court with ‘decline to respond’ written on them.

        Never, never for one second make anything close to a coherent statement.

        Freak out it the American flag in the courtroom has fringe on it.

        Salt water and fresh water shall not mix!

        1. Freak out it the American flag in the courtroom has fringe on it.

          This is not good advice.

          When you see the fringe, you aren’t supposed to freak out. Rather you point out that the prosecutor lacks standing to present a case against you in a court of admiralty law.

          Argue this position forcefully three times: the Supreme Court ruled that if you challenge the standing three times, and they lack standing, they have to admit it.

          1. How much is your retainer?

        2. I see. I knew there was a reason you never see a Russian drinking water.

          I once went to a meeting where such legal advice, such as it was, was being offered. Apparently, you need to maintain that you are a sovereign citizen and refuse to acknowledge the judge’s authority. Sure, a few people will go to jail with this strategy, but make an omelette and all that. That can’t arrest us all! (Spoiler alert! They can!)

        3. You forgot this one:

          Remind everyone frequently and loudly that you are the natural man.

          1. I thought that was covered under, “Remember – all capital letters is the ‘corporate’ you and not he ‘real’ you.”

  13. In Soviet Amerika, government leash you!

  14. I get sick of dogs not on leashes. So annoying. What’s so hard about keeping your god damned dog on a leash? Not the mention the dog bite issue.

    But libertarianism is freedom for aggression.

    1. That’s some mighty fine gibberish you got there.

      1. Now who can argue with that? I think we’re all indebted to D A for clearly stating what needed to be said. I’m particularly glad that these lovely commenters were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic comment gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age.
        [H&R commentariat murmur and nod in approval]

    2. “But libertarianism is freedom for aggression.”

      Derp de derpity derp.

    3. But libertarianism is freedom for aggression.

      I’m torn between pity and sympathy for your condition.

    4. Seriously? OK, I’ll bite: Why?

      Unless the dog is going to attach you, your kids or your own dog, what’s the problem?

      I’m not saying let the dog roam, I’m saying take a walk or run together and let Fido move about without a rope around his neck. Why is this a problem?

  15. “Now it’s all been about punishing me. To what end?”


  16. The LAPD is fucking insane about off leash dogs.

    They used to conduct raids on the local park in Woodland Hills, driving on to the grass in their cruisers, looking for dogs that were off leash. All in the name of public safety, I’m sure.

    One in particular pulled his gun on me because he didn’t see him walking behind him through the parking lot. Fucking crooks.

    1. No offense, but if I came across a quasi-mythical monster who had walked up behind me, I might have drawn too!

  17. She was all set to give him a warning ? until she recognized his name, by then infamous to the rangers.

    A veritable John Dillinger of the Dog Parks.

  18. Leash laws are silly. If you’ve got a problem with a particular dog then deal with that dog’s owner rather than passing an ordinance that screws over all dog owners. On the other hand, Gladwin is an “environmental acitivist” which means he supports all manner of silly and intrusive laws so long as they don’t affect him.

    1. Leash laws are silly.

      True you can’t legislate away stupidity. It’s unfortunate that people can’t show more discretion and courtesy regarding their dogs without a law. And the really stupid and rude ones still disregard the law.

      Case in point my wife and I were hiking with our dog in the San Gabriels and a dog approached us from off the trail belonging to 2 guys 40 feet ahead of us. We were assured the dog was friendly, and our dog and the guys’ dog seemed to be ok. Then suddenly the guys’ dog growls and lunges. Fortunately, my dog is 35 pounds and I scooped him up. The owner came to get his dog. He apologized, and stated that the dog was a Hawaiian pig pit fighter rescue that he is trying to socialize and correctly train. Unfortunately, I didn’t give him a hard time for lying and making my dog a part of his experiment.

      1. If you’re trying to socialize a fighting dog, they should never, ever, ever be off the leash.

    2. I must confess that my first reaction on hearing that he was an environmentalist was “Serves him right”. The guy has likely long supported the fist of government beating up on people trying to enjoy their property or run a business.

      Plus, I am not a fan of people who let their dogs run free without leashes. My wife and I walk at nights in our neighborhood. There is one bad neighbor who takes his big dogs for a walk without leashes. The dogs are not well trained, and although not hostile, run towards us silently (very alarming), trying to jump up on us? I grew up with dogs, and so can speak to them as an alpha male and they back off. But every single time, this gets old.

  19. How did a self-described environmental activist and lifelong nature lover become the National Park Services’ most wanted?

    What did he work and vote for, over and over? For order and the current system, or for liberty?

    No fucks given. Enjoy your bed.

    1. Now now, people sometime need the lesson in what government is to be administered brutally before it sticks.

      He’s just a slow learner.

      1. Oh sure, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Absolutely.

        But, here? “What did you expect?”

  20. No, he let his dog, Molly, off her leash to play just beyond their yard in the vast expanse of Santa Monica Mountains.

    Bitch set him up. Literally.

  21. Colleagues have teasingly dubbed her the “dog narc”

    Oh, those *zany* Interior folks!

    1. I remember when my parents used to punish us for being “tattletales”.

      1. I like your parents!

      2. I can remember punishing anyone who was a tattletale myself.

        That’s what playgrounds are for, right? Dishing out street justice?

    2. You’ve got to wonder if it’s really teasing.

  22. Less dog poop on the trails. Victory.

  23. Nothing left to cut!

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