LANCASTER – Outspoken City Council critic, David Grajeda, made a court appearance Wednesday morning at the Antelope Valley courthouse on charges of interfering with a public meeting. His case was continued to Jan. 12, 2012 for pretrial, according to his attorney Amy Konstantelos.
Additionally, a restraining order, which bars Grajeda from attending City Council meetings was renewed with new restrictions.
Under the new order, Grajeda must not only stay away from City Hall, he must also refrain for making any written or telephonic communications with City Hall.
“His first amendment rights are completely blocked out as it refers to City Hall,” said Konstantelos.
There will be a hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 22, where Grajeda hopes to challenge the restraining order and have it modified.
“We want to see if we can have the order quashed or at least modified to where he can call in and have his voice heard,” said Konstantelos. “Or maybe he can have a third party come in and speak for him.”
Despite, his new restrictions Grajeda remained optimistic after his court appearance.
“I’m gonna take it to the box,” said Grajeda. “That means I’m fighting all the way. I’m going to contest any little thing that they try to come at me with.”
Grajeda said he believes the restraining order barring him from City Council meetings is unconstitutional.
“I believe it’s a violation of the constitution and I believe it’s also a violation of the California Ralph M. Brown Act,” said Grajeda.
Grajeda was arrested on Oct. 25 and charged with a misdemeanor for interfering with a public meeting based on his actions at an Oct. 12 Criminal Justice Commission meeting. View video of those actions here.
Grajeda was ejected from the Criminal Justice Commission meeting, and then arrested for the incident 13 days later as he attempted to enter a City Council meeting. Grajeda’s bail was initially set at $5,000 for the misdemeanor charge, but was later raised to $25,000.
Following his arrest, Grajeda was jailed at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility for 16 days before making bail and being released on Nov. 9.
Wednesday, Maria Grajeda said she believed her son’s charges were retaliation for criticizing the City Council and Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
“I understand what is in play here,” said Maria Grajeda. “In reality this is going to affect not just David but everybody, because if they are able to make this stick, they are going to be applying this to anyone that has anything bad to say about what they (Lancaster City Council) are doing.”
Grajeda says he is eager to have his day in court.
“I’m not gonna make this easy for them,” he said. “I’m eager to see what’s next in court.”