A San Luis Obispo marketing executive has filed a counter claim against the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in response to a criminal case against him. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is alleging he threatened a police officer.
- MUCH ADO ABOUT A MEETING : This is a still from a video posted on YouTube, which Jeff Lind believes proves his innocence. Lind is charged with threatening a witness, stemming from a Santa Maria courthouse inaction with Robert Ortega, a police officer who later said he was threatened. Lind has since filed a claim saying the court must prove its jurisdiction over him.
Jeff Lind, 55, of Orcutt, the general manager of a San Luis Obispo-based advertising agency, filed the claim—the initial step in a full-fledged lawsuit—alleging that Santa Barbara County has no jurisdiction over him.
He previously told New Times that he committed no crime, so there’s no probable cause, so there’s no jurisdiction. His counterclaim, alleging trespass, cites various laws, amendments, and procedures from throughout history to make a case that the court is technically a foreign state that must disclose its true jurisdiction. The claim notes that Lind holds the right to invoke the 11th Amendment: “The judicial power shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted by a Foreign State.”
The claim filed July 20 names 27 people involved in Lind’s criminal case, including Superior Court Judge Kay Kuns, District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lelujian, Guadalupe police officer Robert Ortega, and five unidentified Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies.
The whole messy legal situation began in December 2010, when Lind was awaiting a hearing for a family member at the Santa Maria courthouse. While waiting, Lind struck up a conversation with his relative’s arresting officer, Guadalupe officer Ortega, who sat nearby.
What happened next is in dispute, but Ortega alleges Lind became verbally threatening, allegedly getting in Ortega’s face and saying, “… you got something coming to you, too, pal!”
Lind was taken into custody shortly after the incident. Ortega later stated in a crime report that he became fearful for his life due to Lind’s actions. Lind now faces charges of threatening a witness.
Lind denies making any threat, however, and points to surveillance video footage of the incident in the court waiting room as evidence that he never became menacing toward the officer. Throughout his early legal proceedings—none of which have yet been a trial—Lind has attempted to use the video to prove his innocence.
He later sent Kuns and other officials a “National Standards Damage Claim Packet” alleging more than $77 million in damages.
“I am not the plaintiff and they are the defendants,” Lind wrote in an Aug. 3 e-mail to New Times. “My case hinges on jurisdiction, did they have the jurisdiction to do what they did to me without any evidence whatsoever and have in their possession video proof of my [innocence].”
The Office of Santa Barbara County Counsel declined to comment on the claim, citing the pending nature of the case. Deputy District Attorney Lelujian, who was named specifically in the suit, also refused comment.
According to Lind, he’s scheduled to appear in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Aug. 4, where he said he’ll request a continuance until the court proves it has jurisdiction over the case.