Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cecil rules on Hume-Conley 'chaos'

by Tom Nadeau

In a sympathetic, but bluntly-worded order, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cecil ruled Oct. 5 that Constance “Connie” Conley stay 100 feet away from her estranged boyfriend, Elk Grove City Council Member Patrick Hume, for one year.

However, despite Hume being the prevailing party in this highly-publicized romantic quarrel, Cecil declined to make Conley pay Hume’s legal fees, because, as Cecil put it, Hume “brought part of this chaos upon himself.”

Cecil based his decision in Hume v. Conley, #06CP01317 on testimony both gave Oct. 1 in a three-hour hearing on alleged violations of a standing court order.

From 'pleasant' to 'nasty' ...

“Evidence presented clearly establishes that [Conley] violated the terms and conditions of the existing restraining order on hundreds of occasions. Some of the contacts were, apparently, pleasant. Others were not. Some were downright nasty, hostile and threatening,” Cecil said in his written ruling.

Things came to a head between the two in October of 2009 and Hume made it clear to Conley that he wanted “no further contact except on official city business and only through his public email address, not his private email address,” Cecil noted.

Conley had been active in Hume’s Elk Grove city events and other political causes which brought her to city council meetings.

Cecil wrote that at the court hearing, Conley “acknowledged that she ignored the request and continued with her barrage of emails, texts and phone calls to [Hume].”

Although Conley claimed in court that Hume also continued to send her friendly text messages, “she offered no proof that such text messages were ever sent other than her testimony…The court does not find [Conley] to be credible on this point."

“The multitude of phone calls and emails that were not responded to by [Hume] are in stark contrast to her claim that he was sending friendly text to her each morning during the fall of 2009 through spring of 2010,” Cecil wrote.

Cecil summed up the situation saying that it was clear that while Conley wished to have relationship with Hume that was never fully reciprocated to by Hume, “It is equally true that [Hume] engaged in a course of conduct that invited [Conley] to violate the restraining order.”

Conley testified that Hume “re-engaged” their relationship.

“Apparently so,” Cecil observed, “but he again disengaged in October 2009. For the next eight months, it appears that [Hume] did nothing to encourage the harassment perpetrated by [Conley].”

Hume’s decision to ignore the restraining order and to allow [Conley] back into his life and his political affairs was a poor one, lacking in judgment and common sense,” Cecil noted.

“Under some circumstances, the court would tell [Hume] that by flaunting the restraining order that he so desperately wanted in 2007 he forfeits his ability to again seek relief….[but This situation is different,” Cecil wrote.

Hume had a right to back out of seeing Conley and he clearly communicated his desire to retreat from further contact,” Cecil wrote, but “His record was a relentless assault by [Conley] that took many forms and involved other people and agencies, It went on for months."

He concluded, “It appears to the court that [Hume] has every reason to be concerned that, but for the restraining order, the harassment will continue.”

Cecil then addressed the issue of Hume’s new girlfriend, Lisa Lent, repeating what he had said in the Oct. 1 hearing.

Hume’s “girlfriend, Lisa Lent, cannot be included as a protected party in the order [because she] is not a ‘family or household member’ If she wants to be protected from harassment by [Conley] Ms. Lent will need to file her own action.”

Hume’s attorney, Ron Peters, had asked that the new stay-away order last five years. Cecil declined. He ordered this one to extend just one year.

“The one-year period will also be sufficient to see if “[Conley’s] pledge not to harass [Hume] was made in good faith. In the event that [Hume] again opts to ignore the protection afforded by his restraining order, it is hoped that [Conley] will immediately petition the court to vacate the restraining order that is being issued or, in the alternative, [she] will file a motion to vacate his new restraining ordered concurrent with his change of heart,” Cecil concluded.

So ends one stormy Elk Grove political affair, forever. Perhaps.


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