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1/30/2017

Harassment Restraining Order Questions


Hello,

Please consider adding my post to your blog,  I'm hoping to get answers, 

I'm in the midst of a restraining order hearing- I am the respondent,

The Petitioner is filing a case against me not for threats, but instead for sending emails to get my property back-
The petitioner blocked my email address, phone number and dropped me from social media.

I wrote several emails, nothing in them was threatening or made any type of accusations, or were disrespectful in any way, actually they were very nice, asking to meet up to get my property back.  The Petitioner has claimed the emails were blocked and were deposited directly into a SPAM folder, now is opening the folder and claiming the peace of mind is interrupted, and its harassing to get the emails.

That is it-  nothing more- and I think the Judge is also wondering where the harassment is- but is anyone familiar with cases that were dismissed becasue the Petitioner claiming harassment because of emails they DID NOT get, but opened later on?

I look forward to any possible comments, how will I know if anyone responds to a blog post?

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if it is too late for a reply. This message was posted five days ago. One of my complaints about restraining order hearing is that they happen FAST--too quickly for the respondent to prepare a meaningful response--so it may already be too late. But here are my thoughts in case the hearing hasn't happened yet:

    What does the petitioner claim is the reason why she was being harassed? For example, if you contact someone, they tell you firmly not to contact them again, and then you contact them a second time--I believe that can be considered harassment/stalking and grounds for a restraining order. That is true even if the contacts themselves weren't threatening. It isn't so much whether the contact was "nice" or not--if she alleges that you knew or should have known that such contact was unwelcome, it would be grounds for a restraining order.

    Basically you need to be prepared to question her about whatever allegations she made in the petition. If she is claiming that the contact was unwelcome--but offers no evidence to back that up--you need to question her on that. If she didn't want you contacting her, did she ever tell you not to contact her? You need to question her on this point in court. Ideally this should be done by an attorney but I'm not sure if there is time at this point to retain an attorney. You might consider asking to judge to postpone the hearing until you are able to retain counsel. Any temporary restraining order will remain in effect until the delayed hearing but it will give you a bit more time to contest the permanent order.

    What is the exact status of this case right now? Usually the sequence of events is that the petitioner starts with getting an ex parte order (without the respondent having a chance to respond). The order is then served on the respondent. This is often done by law enforcement--sheriff's deputy or police officer--as a show of authority, although any adult other than the petitioner herself can serve the papers. It is at the point of service that the order goes into effect. The temporary restraining order will also include a notice of the hearing time for the permanent order (usually about 1-2 weeks in the future). At that hearing both sides present their sides of the story and the judge either denies the order--ending the restraining order--or grants it for a more extended period--usually a few years.

    I'm wondering where in that sequence of events you are at. The reason I'm asking is that you "think the judge is also wondering where the harassment is". I'm wondering why you think that. With the usual sequence of events for restraining orders, usually the respondent doesn't get in front of the judge until the final hearing for the permanent order. So it is hard for a respondent to get a read on what the judge is thinking until that final order. So I'm curious why you think the judge is skeptical--what is your basis for thinking that? Did the judge, for example, deny the request for the temporary order? That would be unusual--I think these requests are granted more often than not especially at the ex parte stage--but if the judge did deny at that stage it would certainly be a strong indication of skepticism on the judge's part.

    Good luck!

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  2. Also in case the order does end up being granted (I know you are hoping that doesn't happen but just playing devil's advocate here): you will probably want to ask the judge to rule on how you get your property back. Since you won't be able to contact her directly to get the property back if the order does remain in effect, you may need to make some arrangement through the court. For example, the judge might allow you to retrieve your belongings from her place if you are accompanied by sheriff's deputies. The arrangements will probably vary depending on jurisdiction but you need to look into this as well--again, ideally with an attorney's help.

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