There are a lot of websites out there that discuss restraining orders--with a general sense that restraining orders are very easy to get from the point of view of the petitioner--but there is not a lot of discussion about what actually happens at a restraining order hearing. I thought I would share a little bit about what happened at my own restraining order hearing. Bear in mind that I am not a lawyer--I was proceeding pro se at my hearing--but I would imagine that there are others without the financial resources to retain an attorney who could benefit from learning what happens at a hearing.
The woman with a restraining order against me, and all the power that
that gives her with respect to me, is named Angela. A restraining order typically starts with the petitioner--Angela--going to court on her own and suing for a restraining order. During the first hearing, the respondent (me) isn't present and typically doesn't even know about the petition yet. The judge may (and usually does) grant the restraining order for a short time on Angela's evidence only. However, the restraining order wasn't considered in effect until I was served. During this brief time interval, Angela emailed me to say that I imagined myself to be in a relationship with her and she needed to defend herself. This was a reference to the restraining order although I didn't know it yet. The next day I was served with a copy of the order by law enforcement while at work. In her petition
against me, among other things, Angela alleged harassment on the grounds
that I had made inappropriate comments about her breasts and had propositioned her sexually.
In other words this was a "no means no" type of restraining order. Angela was saying that "no means no"--reasonable--but also saying she somehow needed the courts to enforce this--not so reasonable in my view. In particular it wasn't even claimed that I'd in any way refused to accept her "no" to any sexual advance I might have made.
At the restraining order hearing, I first attempted to get the matter
dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Angela and I once lived in the
same state, but have since moved away to different states, so there are
three different states involved: my current state, her current state,
and the past state where we both lived. Angela filed the restraining
order in her current state of residence. I attempted to argue that
Angela's allegations--whether true or false--had little to do with her
current state, and the matter would more appropriately be heard either
in my current state of residence or the past state where we both lived.
However, I was unsuccessful in this motion for dismissal on purely
The judge then swore both of us--Angela as petitioner and myself as
defendant--in as witnesses. And there is where I fear that I may have
made my first mistake being unfamiliar with the law--although I cannot
be sure for exactly the same reason (I am unfamiliar with the law). In
agreeing without questioning it to be sworn in as a witness, I was
perhaps foolishly forgoing my Fifth Amendment rights against self
incrimination. Angela clearly hoped to pursue not just a restraining
order against me but also she wanted to pursue criminal charges. I do
not believe I ever did anything that rose to the level of a criminal
offense. And Angela never made any headway whatsoever--either before or
after the hearing--in pursuing criminal charges against me. Yet the
threat made me nervous especially given that I had no legal
representation. I do not believe I committed a crime but without legal
counsel to advise me on how to approach testifying I was quite nervous
about suddenly being thrust by the judge into a position of testifying.
The judge then questioned Angela about why she was seeking a restraining
order against me. She reiterated essentially the same claims she had
made in her written petition. The judge allowed her to gloss over the
part of her petition where she alleged that I had commented
inappropriately on the subject of her breasts. Notably, however, he did
ask her to testify as to her current place of residence--bear in mind
that I had previously challenged the petition on jurisdictional grounds.
Next the judge questioned me as to Angela's allegations. This is where I
may have made my second mistake. Because I didn't know what might or
might not have placed me at risk of criminal prosecution, I answered the
questions truthfully--but in as noncommittal a way as possible. As
such I probably didn't make a very good impression as a witness--I
probably seemed rather evasive. I would have benefited from either
taking the Fifth or discussing with an attorney how best to present my
side of the story without exposing myself to greater legal risk.
The final stage of the hearing was when the judge allowed me to directly
question (cross examine) Angela as to her allegations. I had not been
expecting this--indeed I had expected the hearing to already be
dismissed by this point on jurisdictional grounds--and was not prepared
for how best to question her. Moreover, I was embarrassed both for
myself and for Angela about the intimate nature of her allegations,
involving discussions of her breasts and my comments on them. I was not
prepared emotionally to have a discussion on such matters in an open
courtroom. As such, I asked Angela only one rather weak question and
let it go at that.
I should say that there is some truth to some of the allegations that
Angela made in her petition. However, she often didn't tell the full
story, suggesting that any advances I might have made were completely
unwelcome, whereas in fact she was often at least somewhat receptive.
Had I been prepared to properly cross examine her, I would have asked
her--for example--why when she claimed that my phone calls to her were
unwelcome in her petition, she always called me back and adopted a
friendly tone of voice. I do not know what the outcome would have been
had I done so. However because of my embarrassment about the intimate
nature of some of her allegations, I never properly cross examined her.
As such, Angela's claims were accepted at face value and the
restraining order was put into effect.
As I noted earlier, my main purpose in writing this is to explain what
happens at a restraining order hearing--at least at mine--to offer some
clues as to how a future defendant might be better prepared than I was.
I am not a lawyer and, of course, the best bet is to hire a lawyer--but
if legal representation is not an option understanding as much about
the process in advance seems to me to be the next best bet.
This Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Some posters are court ordered to have no contact of any kind with the person having a Restraining Order against them. Meaning no third party contact as well. If you by chance know a person one of our posters/authors is discussing to share their experiences with others, we ask you to respect our rights to free speech, under the United States Constitution. Restraining Order Blog is not meant to harass, directly or indirectly contact, harm, intimidate, bring any emotional distress, stalk or cyberstalk, nor intentionally slander or damage any individual in any way. Nor is it intended to initiate any third party contact on behalf of any poster or author, or violate a current restraining order in any way either. If you feel there is anything here that is slanderous, untrue, or illegal, please bring it to our attention. We will examine your request promptly, and any post you find offensive will be reviewed for removal in a timely manner. If you have a story to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will add you as an author on Restraining Order Blog.
I just saw this on the news, and it is important to reserve judgement until this Hillsborough County Man has had his day in court. It really is a sad situation when 2 people are trying to talk out their problems w/o getting the Police involved that a person can be arrested and charged with a Felony for "Tampering with a witness". In fact, the penalty for "Tampering with a witness" is much more severe then the penalty for actually hitting a person in a Domestic Violence incident. I guess the Police here in Hillsborough County Florida value a witness who can testify and make a case against someone more then a victim who has been beaten. Imagine a Man and his wife have an argument, they both scream at each other, and the wife goes to call the Police. The Man, not wishing to have his neighbors see the Police come to their home, simply grabs the phone from his wife. That simple act of not allowing his irrational wife to call the police will get you charged with a Felony here in Hillsborough County Florida. And, get this, it matters not if the domestic violence charges are proven to be untrue and dismissed in Court or not. Here is the story below of The Wrestler Known As Adam Rose, Who Was Arrested Here In Hillsborough County Florida For Domestic Violence. Hillsborough County deputies arrested WWE star Raymond Leppan Wednesday. Leppan, 36, is charged with domestic battery and preventing the victim from contacting law enforcement. Leppan is known as Adam Rose. Deputies said he engaged in a verbal argument with the victim about marital problems at a residence in the 18000 block of Sparrows Nest Drive. Leppan “grabbed the victim on each side of her face with his hands and pulled her face close to his while he screamed at her,” deputies said. When the victim called 911, Leppan allegedly took the phone away so she couldn’t report the incident. “The defendant admitted to taking the phone away from the victim so she could not report the incident,” deputies said. The WWE released the following statement: “Raymond Leppan (a.k.a. WWE Superstar Adam Rose) was arrested at his home this morning by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Fla. According to a police report, Leppan was taken into custody and booked on alleged charges of tampering with a witness, a felony, and battery domestic violence, a misdemeanor. He is currently being held without bond. WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence, and per our policy, Raymond Leppan has been suspended indefinitely following his arrest.”
An Israeli man has launched a campaign to stop God interfering in his life after three years of poor treatment at the hands of the Almighty. The unidentified man submitted a restraining order request against His Holiness at an Israeli court on Tuesday. He said that God had been bothering him for three years and that repeated requests to the police had been ignored, with the authorities only sending patrol cars to his home on 10 occasions and not taking his calls seriously. Authorities eventually told the man to take out a restraining order in court against the Lord, he said, so he duly obliged at the Magistrate Court in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa. “For the past three years He started to treat me harshly and not nicely. I complained to the police many times. The Israel police asked me to take out a restraining order,” the man said in the proceedings at the court, according to Israeli news site NRG. God appeared to take note of the man’s complaints as the document of the court proceedings, published after the restraining order request, noted that He did not present himself at the hearing. One has to wonder if a warrant for God's arrest was issued by the judge for failure to appear ? The ruling judge, Ahsan Canaan, threw the request out of court, saying that the attempt was absurd and that he should seek help elsewhere and not from the local authorities, The Times of Israel reported. God was not immediately available for comment.
Hi. On Thursday, Feb. 18 at 1030pm my wife returned from her daughter and son in law's home. She was in a good mood earlier in the day, but came home in a depressed mood. She then complained that she wished she had more money to help the kids, even though we , including her and I , have helped them repeatedly. This escalated into an argument. During the argument, as I got up to leave the room and the discussion, she grabbed my arm and as I pulled away severely scratched my arm . She them hit me in the mouth causing the upper pallet to be torn and bleed. I told her I could call the police and register an assault charge. She saw the bleeding. Then she really fumed. She left the house and went for a walk. A few minutes later at 1130 pm two cops were at my door. One stayed outside with her and the other inside with me. She told her story separate from mine. Both cops, however saw the lip and pallet wound. Before they left , they suggested we separate for the evening. My wife went to her other daughter's house. This was at 1215 pm. At 330 am, my doorbell was ringing. I carefully looked out the window and saw two patrol cars. I didn't open the door. They left. At 800 am, my door bell was ringing. Now there were three patrol cars and they were walking around the property. Again, I didn't open the door. At 900 am, the alarm was deactivated, the door unlocked and my wife comes in with the 6 officers. They serve me with a Temporary Order of Protection. It had been granted at 1230 pm at the police station near my house. The hearing is in two weeks. Two of the officers followed me around the house while I packed some items for the next two weeks. I asked them why I was being put out of my house. They said that she got the Temporary Order of Protection first and I had not applied for one despite the fact that I was the injured and battered parti. They asked if I wanted to make a written statement to add to the report of the previous night. I did. They asked if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. At noon, I went to the emergency room, they took pictures, examined me, wrote a report and gave the report to me with the pictures. My question is....with the facts at hand, at the Hearing, once the judge sees the assault and battery, is it in my favor that the temporary order for protection in her favor be either dismissed or overturned and a new order be issued by the judge against her. This would include having her move out of the house. ANONOMOUS
An Open Letter to Child Protective Services social workers Dear CPS social worker, I dont know you and you dont know me. Im sure you are expecting a bitter letter from a parent that had her children taken, but this letter is not meant to down you or be bitter toward you. It is a letter to hopefully, shed light and help you understand more about your role in this world. You made the choice to study social work in college, maybe from the start, you knew working for child protective services was your goal or perhaps it is one of the first jobs you were hired on to, but either way, your career was aimed towards helping others. That tells me that at one point theres a chance you were a compassionate human being that only wanted to help and change lives. You never imagined your job would be this. Destroying families in the name of help, being forced to follow the rules even when you dont morally agree, and working for a system that is so poorly funded. You are over worked and over booked, the dream you had for your career is but a distant memory. I know you use to feel so deeply and your emotions effected your work, but eventually you became desensitized. You no longer feel like you should and you condone this by saying you cant get that involved with your cases. Im sure you have witnessed some terrible things. Abuse, neglect, addiction, and mental health issues. You have seen the suffering of children and it is your job to save them. You take this job seriously and want what is best for the children. Its a shame that your heavy case loads and courts often keep you from doing what you know is right.Maybe you are one of the good ones, but are caught in a system that doesnt let you be good or maybe you arent one of the good ones, you feel nothing and are okay with ripping a family apart even if its not the right thing to do. You condone this by telling yourself that you are in a position to do what you have to do to protect these kids even if there is no viable evidence. You see yourself almost as a God playing Gods role. It doesnt concern you if it is right or wrong, because in your mind, you think it's better safe then sorry. You manipulate, you lie, you stare the grief of children and parents in the face without a flinch. Your income is good and your life isnt so bad, you probably have a beautiful family that you go home to every night to sleep peacefully with knowing that you are above the system. The federal government pays a hefty incentive to every child that is in your system and forced into adoption. It pays well so even if you know that the children in the system are in for a hard life, you dont care, you terminate the rights of parents that love their children more than life. Perhaps these parents needed some advice, resources, a hand up or even a hand out, but they surely didnt deserve to lose their children. You hear their cries of grief and witness their rage, they beg and they plead. They fight ruthlessly and finish your case plans for you to find more problems that dont really exist. You condemn parents for the things they do then go home to do the same. You are a hypocrite, a sociopath, and a problem in this world. Im not bitter, I am honest. I hope you can take what I say and use it to think about the things that you continue to do. Its not all your fault, the system is broken, but the good people figure that out and quit. That is why the turn over rate for your job is so high, because it takes a special kind of person to destroy lives. I am the mother of a little girl. I raised this litte girl for 4 years before she was ripped from my custody based on lies and manipulation. It has been a year, a year of hell and unimaginable grief. Their claims against me were mental health issues and their idea of helping was to rip my family apart. Ive never hurt my child or neglected her. Im no where near a perfect parent, but I am far from an unfit one. Ive struggled with depression and it has been a really hard battle, but despite it all,I still did what I needed to do for my child and I did it with love. I got my butt out of bed every morning to care for my child and although I fell short in some areas, the answer was never this. Ive been alienated and bullied while being forced to watch my daughter suffer over being taken from all shes ever known. Ive watched my bright, beautiful baby girl lose the sparkle in her eye and regress while she begs me to come home.Ive been the focus of her anger and confusion, I am blamed by her, not you. She doesnt understand. Id be lying if I said I didnt lose my mind the day they took her, but of coarse it was twisted on me and used against me. I would like to see the government kidnap your children and you keep your sanity. There are ways to help and there are ways to hurt people. I cannot believe that you work for a system and dont know the reality of the system you work for or the reality of foster care...or the reality of the chances of these children leading a successful life after losing their families. You know that children are usually safer with their family than in a foster care setting, but you also know there is no money to be made in that. If you only took the children that genuinely needed to be removed and kept the rest of the families together, just getting them the real help they need, you know there would be no money in that, but it would cost money to fund services to really help them. As of right now, you are banking more money than you are losing, so why change a thing? Why? I will tell you why, because family is all we really have in this world. Every family has their issues, I mean, look at our childhoods.None of had a perfect one, but most of us turned out okay regardless and couldnt imagine our life without our crazy relatives. Our children are our next generation in this country, if we continue to hurt them like this, we will continue to see our future generations decline. The money that could have been spent on preserving these families will now be spent on a life time of mental health treatment, welfare benefits, disability, and law enforcement, because those that come out of this system are more times than not destined to this lifestyle. You know this. I know that it runs so much deeper than just that. The time for change is now. Kept together and helped most of us would grow to be half way functional, decent human beings and then the cycle wouldnt be able to continue. The goverment needs this cycle to keep their control over us and keep up their finances. If you want to help then do us all a favor and stop turning a blind eye to the reality of the system. Do you want to save the children? Quit your job now and stand with us against what is happening to us and our children. If you dont quit your job, then do your job with morals and values. Every family that you meet, think about your own. Realize that you dont know everything and arent an expert at parenting. We are all different and what you think is right isnt always right. Help us, be a friend to us, educate us, support us, lift us up and keep our families together. Comfort the grieving and dont allow the corruption to dictate whether or not you do what is right even if this means standing alone without a job. Our children are too valuable for anything aside from this. There is no amount of money in this world good enough to do what you do. Please,take this to heart, because the change starts with you. God Bless America. Sincerely, A broken mother, Crystal Truitt
Poor Warren Sapp, it looks like his trouble with women and domestic violence just will not go away. He lost his job on NFL Network for soliciting a prostitute in Las Vegas. We think that sucks, because we feel prostitution should be legalized, taxed, and regulated. While we don't feel it is right for any man to put his hands on a woman, we can understand Warren Sapp's anger. After all, he paid the 2 prostitutes 300 dollars EACH for Sex. Then, they failed to deliver what they had already been paid very well for, and demanded even more money.
His mistake was losing his temper.
This is a letter from a reader, sharing her experience with an injunction, and asking for advice.
Hello,My name is ****** and I have been heartbroken by a man I am still madly in love with. He is such a sweet man when he is in his right mind but he is not now. A year ago this past January after spending six months with me hours and hours talking with me and telling me how deeply in love with me he was, he dropped out of my life, told me to stay away, and chased me out of his store for no discernable reason. Several months later my son and I went to his store and he was angry at first but eventually was telling me how deeply in love with me he was. Red flags? He also told my son and I that "entities" were telling him he was a "killer and it is my job to kill people." We had seen a therapist together who had diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic but I didn't want to believe it. After many months of hearing nothing from him and being suicidal over it and him, I wrote several emails to him that bounced back to me.I thought he never received them and tried to kill myself. While I was in the hospital he tried to serve papers against me for harassment. when I got home they were served. The judge at the hearing was a joke. She heard only his testimony and refused me the right to testify or defend myself so I shouted over her in order to get into the court record that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and heard voices telling him to kill people. She ruled against me anyway.
So I filed an appeal based on the fact that one I did not threaten or harass a "reasonable person" as he was legally insane and was requesting he be evaluated by a court ordered psychiatrist. I am requesting that the injunction be dropped on that basis and because I was denied a chance to make a stand in my own defense. My reply brief to his lawyer must have been significantly damaging or he wouldn't have tried to have it thrown out based on a lie about a nonexistent law(he lied). He never uses lawyers as he is paranoid of using up all his money, but his worst fear is of being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. My question is, what do I do if he tries to or does contact me? if I call the police won't they take