TRACY – Lathrop Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos doesn’t have to worry about walking too close to the house of one of his neighbors anymore.
On Tuesday, San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Roger Ross denied an application for a restraining order that was submitted by Patricia Alonzo on behalf of her fiancé – Rick Cavaco – and her three children. According to Ross, Alonzo and Cavaco failed to meet the burden of proof required by the plaintiffs in cases like this.
In the initial paperwork submitted, Alonzo alleged that Santos was “stalking” her family, and had laid out enough for Ross to approve a temporary restraining order on March 7 – pending a hearing date for a permanent order on March 29.
And one of the encounters that the plaintiffs submitted in their original paperwork – which involved being chased or threatened by somebody behind the wheel of a car – turned out not to be Santos’ doing but that of another neighbor.
“I issued that temporary restraining order based on that allegation – that incident with the car,” Ross said. “That’s a serious offense – it’s assault with a deadly weapon. Right now I don’t see any evidence of violence or unlawful conduct.”
Santos – who initially denied knowing anything about the temporary restraining order and said last week he couldn’t comment on the case – had documents in his possession that dated back to October, forcing him to wonder why, if he was so “threatening,” they waited more than four months to do something about it.
“This here was the week before the election. Why didn’t they do something then and wait all of this time if they were worried about their safety,” Santos said. “Justice has prevailed today because everything that was said today in court was hearsay. There was absolutely no evidence to back anything up that was said to the judge.”
Ross backed up his position based on Section 527.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.
“According to the law there has to be a credible threat of violence or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate person,” Ross said. “The evidence that you’ve supplied today doesn’t put Mr. Santos into that category.”
Cavaco was far from happy with the outcome.
“I’m beyond disappointed right now,” he said just outside of the courthouse. “That man is one of the biggest liars in the world, and everything he said in there today was lies. It’s not all what we were expecting to hear, and it still hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Neither side, however, got off scot free.
On top of staggering both parties as they left the courthouse with San Joaquin County Sherriff’s deputies to prevent anything from happening inside the lobby or in front of the building, Ross issued a stern reprimand for what he considered “un-neighborly” behavior.
“This type of conduct will not be tolerated in the future,” he said. “It’s hard when you live on the same block and you have big families, and you’re going to cross paths at some point. But you have to learn how to live and co-exist together. Now, are you mature enough to go out through the front doors together?”