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Local News

Appeals Court Upholds Restraining Order Against Santa Barbara Activist Kate Smith

She was barred from the County Administration Building after four employees complained of harassment and threatening conduct

California’s Second District Court of Appeals has upheld the restraining order against activist Kate Smith that bans her from the Santa Barbara County Administration Building.

Smith was barred from the building for three years last August when Santa Barbara County Superior Court Commissioner Denise Motter determined that Smith’s actions toward four county employees constituted harassment and threatening conduct.

Motter found that Smith had a hard time controlling her outbursts even in the courtroom, and also ordered Smith to stay 15 yards away from the four employees.

“They are coming to court and they are telling me that you’re yelling at them, that you are belittling them, that you are invading their personal space, and I believe them,” she told Smith, according to the record.

The decision, written by District Six Justice Kenneth Yegan and filed Monday, said Motter was correct that Smith’s speech rights were outweighed by the safety of county employees.

Smith claimed the ban was meant to prevent her from addressing the Board of Supervisors at public meetings, but Yegan wrote that “there is no evidence that the 527.8 petitions were retaliatory or intended to silence appellant’s political speech.”

Yegan also disagreed with Smith’s argument that she is entitled to special First Amendment accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Even a disabled person has no statutory or constitutional right to threaten and harass public employees,” he wrote.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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