On a rainy and cold Thursday morning, Jason and Cierra Bradley stood outside their Dade County, Georgia, home at the same place they were both arrested two weeks earlier.
"This all just doesn't add up," Cierra Bradley said. "Now we're being sued for the gate [while] our neighbor has a gate on what they're saying is a county road, and he's not being sued?"
A few hours later, the Bradleys lost a civil lawsuit after weeks of battling with the county commission.
Judge Don Thompson of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit ruled last week in favor of the Dade County Commission and ordered the Bradleys to take down a gate on their property after county officials told them it was blocking a county-owned road.
Jason and Cierra Bradley have lived at their home on Old Stage Road in the northwest corner of Dade County for nearly two years. Recently, they put up a gate after one of their neighbor's animals caused minimal damage to their yard and garden, they said.
In late January, the neighbor called law enforcement to complain the gate was illegally blocking a county-owned road.
Dade County Sheriff's Office Lt. David Hughes and the county's Public Works Director Billy Massengale responded to the first call.
Hughes and Massengale told the Bradleys that the road was county owned but had no documentation to back it up, Cierra Bradley later said.
She said the deed to their property and records from the Georgia Department of Transportation show the county's road ends where their property begins.
The property dispute made its way to County Commission Chairman Ted Rumley's desk after the couple had multiple arguments with their neighbor.
Rumley and Massengale met with Cierra Bradley about the issue and the two sides still didn't agree on how much of Old Stage Road was county owned and how much was privately owned.
County records showed the road has been maintained by the county since at least 2005, Massengale testified in court Thursday. County records also show the county owns 0.31 miles of the road.
When Rumley and Massengale came out to measure the road, the paved portion of it was about 400 feet short of 0.31 miles. That made the Bradleys believe the county's ownership did not include the part of the road that was in front of their home and where the gate was placed.
On Feb. 3, Jason and Cierra Bradley were arrested for obstructing a highway and refusing to take down the gate.
Jason Bradley was released later that day on bond, but Cierra Bradley spent two days in jail. She was later charged with willful obstruction of law enforcement officers after refusing to speak to officers when she was arrested, according to an incident report.
Rumley testified Thursday he did find the measurements of the road not to add up. He also told the Times Free Press after the hearing that the measurements of the road "didn't matter."
"We have roads like that all over the county," Rumley said, referring to roads that might be inaccurate on county ledgers.
The Bradleys believed because the paved portion of road ended short of 0.31 miles, that meant the county had been illegally maintaining the road for years.
Robin Rogers, attorney for Dade County, argued that because the county had documentation of it maintaining the road that dated back to the 1980s, that was proof the county owned the road.
Rogers submitted several pieces of evidence to Judge Thompson showing years of road work.
Thompson ruled that because the county had been maintaining the road for several years, the Bradleys' case couldn't hold up.
Jason Bradley — arguing for himself without an attorney — said the county still hadn't provided any documentation of when the county took over the road.
The county had sued the Bradleys after they refused to take the gate down. Thompson ordered at the end of Thursday's hearing that it be taken down.
Contact Patrick Filbin at email@example.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.