The Star-News

Judge denies restraining order

Wed, May 09 2012 07:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

A Superior Court judge today denied a request by Sweetwater Union High School district board member John McCann seeking a permanent injunction against an outspoken critic.

On April 24 McCann filed a temporary restraining order against Stewart Payne, saying he feared for his safety after Payne allegedly threatened him following an April 16 school board meeting.

McCann stated that Payne had threatened to knock him out after McCann insisted on shaking hands.

Judge Ana Espana dismissed the request without prejudice, saying the plaintiff did not show clear and convincing evidence that Payne is a future threat.

Espana said she believes the incident was a single alleged act of violence.

“It sounds like it was a heated moment,” she said. “I don’t have a reason to believe that there will be any act of future harm.”

Espana called the incident inappropriate and immature.

“I expect more adult behavior from everyone involved hence forth,” Espana said.

McCann said he filed the order because he fears for his life and that of his children, since he and Payne live a half-mile from each other and use the same park.

“We’ve stopped bringing the kids to the park,” McCann said in court. “We’ve altered out lifestyles because of this.”

Payne said he’s lived in Eastlake for nine years and has never run into McCann or his family outside of board meetings or prearranged meetings. He added that the order was about intimidation.

“I’ve never posed a threat to him,” Payne said in court. “He posed a threat to me. That is why I told him, ‘get away from me.’ He kept advancing, he kept insisting (to shake my hand).

“I’m satisfied with the judges decision,” Payne said following the hearing. “Hopefully Mr. McCann will not attack any other member of the public in this manner.”

McCann retained Randall Winet from the law firm Winet, Patrick & Weaver and requested the court have Payne pay $2,400 in legal fees.

During Monday’s regularly school board meeting, trustee Bertha Lopez asked that the matter of payment be brought up at a future meeting.

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