By CCT STAFF
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office has declined a request from the CHP to file criminal charges against a 72-year-old nomad who officers arrested in Paso Robles last month. John Sears has wandered throughout California with his mules since 2003.
On Jan. 23, after a CHP officer ordered Sears to stop walking on Nacimiento Lake Drive, the officer returned and arrested the nomad for resisting arrest. Sears contends state law permits him to walk with his mules on the road, and that he did not resist arrest.
CHP officials said that at least seven people called 911 to complain that Sears and his two mules were creating a traffic hazard. Officer argue that while the law allows Sears to ride or drive his mules, he cannot lead them.
Following the arrest, San Luis Obispo based attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu offered to represent Sears pro bono. Funke-Bilu contacted District Attorney Dan Dow, who responded back that he would not be filing charges against Sears.
“I am pleased to announce that District Attorney Dan Dow has advised me today, February 1, 2020, that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against my client, Mule, “in the interest of justice,” Funke-Bilu wrote. “Mr. Dow is to be applauded for doing the right thing and doing the right thing swiftly. Mule was traveling across America as he has done for many years, bothering no one, minding his own business.
“America’s roads are designed for its citizens, its cars, its horses, its mules, its pedestrians, its travelers. Let’s share our roads and be mindful that some of us move a little slower on them. Mule teaches us that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. It was an honor to represent an American icon.”