How protective is an order of protection? The short answer is: It depends. "A personal protection order is merely a piece of paper," I explain to my clients. To be really safe, you need to take extra precautions.
Thanks to Paula Aylward, Michigan family law attorney, for calling to my attention a New York Times article: Case Revives Debate Over Protection Orders, published online on 2/26/2010. Alan Feuer writes:
That is what seems to have happened last fall to a woman who obtained a temporary order of protection from a Family Court judge in the Bronx against David W. Johnson, a top aide to Gov. David A. Paterson. Transcripts of recorded court hearings suggest that when the woman tried to serve Mr. Johnson, he refused the order — as did his lawyer a few weeks later. A police spokesman said Thursday that officers did deliver papers to Mr. Johnson, but he never appeared in court to answer them.
But in a Washington State case, even though a protection order had been served, it still failed to protect a victim of abuse from a stalked that she barely knew who was apparently infatuated with her.
According to KREM.com in Tacoma Washington, on February 25, a special education teacher was shot numerous times and killed as she attempted to enter the elementary school where she was employed. She had previously obtained a protection order prohibiting an acquaintance from stalking her. He had recently violated the order and had spent some jail time. On the 25th, he lay in wait for Jennifer Paulson to arrive in the morning. At 7:35 a.m., she struggled to enter the building, but was unable to reach safety before she was fatally shot in the head and chest. Jed Waits, the shooter, was shot and killed by the police shortly thereafter.
"A personal protection order is merely a piece of paper," I explain to my clients. To be really safe, you need to take extra precautions. I have written more about how to deal with domestic violence and to put a safety plan in place here, here and here.
Learn more about personal protection orders and domestic violence on the website of the American Bar Association here. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/practical/dvprotection.html