What “the Law” Means in the Restraining Order Arena and Why All Reasonable Expectations Defendants Have Are Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Posted on May 31, 2015

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  • “I put a restraining order on my ex-husband. Now he’s depressed and staying in his truck.”
  • “Can a restraining order result in suicide?”
  • “Get [a] restraining order lifted for job.”
  • “Can a restraining order be appealed if there isn’t evidence?”
  • “How will it affect my child custody if I filed a false order for protection?”
  • “What if my abuser files [a] restraining order against me?”
  • “My daughter falsely accused her stepmother of civil stalking.”
  • “Falsely accused of breaking a protection order.”
  • “A crazy person filed a restraining order on me.”
  • “Teacher falsely accused [in] Ohio.”
  • “Girlfriend filed a frivolous, retaliatory protection order against me.”
  • “I’m falsely accused. I need help. My ex has [a] protective order on me. I’m the victim, not him.”
  • “Suicide [and] false accusations.”
  • “I was served a domestic violence restraining order, but I don’t see any evidence.”

—Some recent search terms that led visitors here (punctuation added)

Victims of restraining order fraud often voice the conviction that restraining orders require evidence, because trials, we’ve been led to believe, must have an ascertainable basis; you can’t just summon a person to court for whatever. They also express the conviction that plaintiffs “can’t” lie. After all, accusers are made to swear an oath to tell “nothing but the truth.” They should be in trouble if they lie. They should go to jail.

These expectations are all reasonable ones…but they’re wrong.

Q: To get a restraining order, you have to have proof, right?

A: No. “Proof” is not the standard by which civil restraining order allegations are judged. Also, a person can’t “prove” s/he’s afraid; all s/he can do is say so, and his or her say-so is all that’s required.

Q: But if you have proof your accuser is lying, the restraining order has to be dismissed…doesn’t it?

A: No. This is the expectation of everyone summoned before a judge, for obvious reasons: Allegations aren’t facts, and only facts can mean someone is “guilty” of something. Restraining orders, however, don’t require evidence of anything or a determination of “guilt” of anything. What “provable” facts may exist are only as relevant as a judge elects to make them.

Q: A restraining order can be finalized even if a judge knows the plaintiff is lying?

A: Yes. Oath-swearing is just a ritual; lying doesn’t invalidate a petition. Restraining order statutes don’t have a “truth” standard. A person files a petition. If the alleged grounds satisfy the law according to a judge’s personal standards—and a judge’s personal standards are the legal standard—s/he’s authorized to approve the petition. In a subsequent hearing, even if the veracity of the plaintiff is controverted, the law doesn’t require that the order be dismissed. That’s up to the judge. Often if a judge can find a reason to “believe” the plaintiff has a reason to feel harassed or afraid, based on nothing but what the plaintiff says s/he feels, that’s sufficient (even if s/he has given false testimony). Glaringly false allegations may rile a judge, but the law doesn’t require him or her to dismiss a petition on those grounds (or on any others).

Q: So a judge can do whatever s/he wants on no grounds or even on bad ones?

A: Right (a judge who may not be a lawyer or even have a college degree). The only grounds necessary are that someone submitted an application.

Q: And if a plaintiff lies to get a restraining order, s/he can also lie to have someone arrested?

A: S/he can call the police every day if s/he wants to, and allege anything. There’s also no statutory ceiling on the number of restraining orders someone can petition (for free, usually), and subsequent allegations are that much more easily put over, and subsequent orders that much more easily obtained, once one has been approved. Some people are dragged into court relentlessly.

Q: So it’s like that story by Kafka?

A: Exactly like it (with some Lewis Carroll mixed in).

Copyright © 2015 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

*On this basis, people are removed from their homes, stripped of all possessions, denied a role in their children’s lives, incarcerated, and left broke(n) and homeless. Some kill themselves.

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