Successfully preparing, defending, or opposing a Personal Protection Order involves a thorough understanding of the laws, procedures, and the standards applied by referees and judges in hearings that may be requested to set aside a PPO. A valuable reference tool will help you understand all of these things. Available on the website of the Michigan Judicial Institute, the Domestic Violence Benchbook contains about 678 pages, was revised and copyrighted in 2004. The PDF file is available here:
To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here.
There are no uniform data at the national level that provide us with a global picture of the prevalence and incidence of abuse and maltreatment of people who are severely disabled. We know these numbers are high. We also know that perpetrators are often the people closest to the disabled person such as guardians, caregivers, neighbors or acquaintances, family members, healthcare providers or other residents.
In a recent article, Daniel Pollack, MSSA (MSW), JD and professor at the School of Social Work of Yeshiva University, examines the reasons why it is so difficult to quantify these abuses at a national level and what can be done to better protect people with profound disability.
Cite as: Pollock, Daniel. "Comprehensive Protection Needed for Individuals with Profound Developmental Disabilities at Risk of Abuse and Neglect." Policy & Practice 72, no. 6 (2014): 36-37.
Recent discussion among Michigan family lawyers centers around a certain breed of lawyer who pays court clerks for information about recently filed cases and then sends a letter inviting the defendant to come in and talk about the divorce. No regard is held for any case--but most especially, the concern is about those cases in which the plaintiff, who may be a victim of domestic abuse, is left without any protection against domestic violence when a spouse learns about the filing before he/she can get to safety.
I stand with those in favor of NOT allowing unfettered access to court filings in divorce cases--those who have registered dismay about trolling by lawyers with letters sent to the defendant without regard to whether the Plaintiff may have had the opportunity or felt able to share with a spouse that a divorce had been filed.
One of the lawyers in favor of trolling (sending the letters to solicit clients) stated: "Shame on the Plaintiff attorney for not getting the victim to a safe place before filing the case. The person sending the letters does NOT have a duty to protect. On the other had, if you are the Plaintiff's attorney who is DV victim YOU have the duty to be prudent and not file until you know your client is in a safe place."
Ellen J. Clark filed a complaint requesting that an order for protection from abuse be entered against John Brian McLane in a District Court in Maine. The order entered and McLane appealed. The issue on appeal was whether threats to publicly publish "revenge porn" on the Internet established abuse authorizing a Maine court to issue a protection order.
Clark and McLane had an intimate relationship for several months during 2011 to 2012. On January 13, 2013, after their relationship had ended and after Clark had notified McLane’s wife of the affair, McLane sent an email to Clark containing a litany of insulting and derogatory remarks. McLane told Clark:
In People v Martz, the defendant was convicted by a jury of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC I), MCL 750.520b (force or coercion); unlawful imprisonment, MCL 750.349b; resisting or obstructing a police officer causing serious impairment, MCL 750.81d(3); and two counts of resisting or obstructing a police officer, MCL 750.81d(1). Defendant was sentenced as a second habitual offender, MCL 769.10, to concurrent imprisonment for 15 to 40 years for CSC I, 15 to 221/2 years for unlawful imprisonment, 10 to 15 years for resisting and obstructing a police officer causing serious impairment, and 16 months to 2 years for resisting and obstructing a police officer. He appealed and the Court of Appeals upheld the convictions. One of his claims was he could not be convicted of CSC I because the victim was his wife.
On May 2, 2013, Elizabeth Smart spoke out at a forum on human trafficking at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She addressed the issue why the three young women kidnapped in Ohio may not have spoken out or tried to escape for such a long time.
Smart said that she was raised in a religious household where abstinence was taught and valued. She remembered a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum--deriding someone who permitted sexual touching over and over and evoking a sense of shame and lack of worth in a young girl who had been kidnapped, forcibly raped, and held hostage.
A 2010 Michigan statute permits a tenant who is at risk of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to be released from a rental obligation. The tenant seeking release must provide notice of "intent to seek a release and written documentation that the tenant has a reasonable apprehension of present danger to the tenant or his or her child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking."
The documentation that may be submitted includes a personal protection order, a criminal "no-contact" order, a police report that resulted in a criminal charge filed within 14 days of the notice to the landlord, or a form submitted by a qualified third party verifying a threat of present danger. A qualified third party includes a domestic violence or sexual assault counselor, health professional (medical or mental health), or clergy member. The statute contains specific definitions of the term "qualified third party."
Once documentation is submitted, the tenant will be released from her obligation to pay rent on the first day of the second month that rent is due after notice is given. The release takes effect when the tenant vacates the premises.
Sarah M. Buel, Clinical Professor of Law & Director, Ruth V. McGregor Family Protection Clinic at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University has written a powerful Op-Ed published in the Arizona Republic on December 13, 2012.
Professor Buel urges reauthorization and funding of the Violence Against Women Act, which saw bi-partisan passage in 1994 and bi-partisan reauthorization in 2000 and 2005.
Professor Buel argues five primary reasons why Congress should again support VAWA:
Buel, S. M. (2012, December 13). It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Violence Against Women Act. Arizona Republic [Last accessed December 13, 2012]
Contact information for Professor Sarah M. Buel: Sarah M. Buel, Clinical Professor of Law, Director, Ruth V. McGregor Family Protection Clinic, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 877906, Tempe, AZ. 85287-7906
See also Safety Plans for children & adults (English & Spanish)
Thanks to Rebecca Henry, Deputy Chief Counsel, ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence for these wonderful collections of resources expanding on Internet Safety for Men, Women and Children:
Safety & Privacy in a Digital World by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (September 2012) provides information and resources to support the safety and privacy of those who may or do experience technology-assisted abuse. It reviews the ways in which technology can be misused, offers tips for enhancing data security and personal privacy, and explores considerations for advocates and organizations serving survivors of abuse.
The Technology & Confidentiality Resources Toolkit by NNEDV's Safety Net Project, The Confidentiality Institute, and the U.S. DOJ Office of Violence Against Women (2012) can be found on the VAWnet.org website. Click on the Internet Explorer icon to view.
Going through a divorce? Married or cohabiting and miserable? Or are you a family lawyer whose client, during the divorce process, is walking on eggshells, just trying to keep the equilbrium . . . trying to manage . . . trying to avoid emotional, psychological and financial abuse that is so harmful to himself or herself or the children?
Here's a link to an interesting test to determine how bad things really are. It's a short online test that takes about 3 to 5 minutes to complete. It may provide the impetus for you (or for your client) to get some counseling to begin to develop some techniques and coping skills to help her (usually, but not always her) deal with a narcissist. Walking on Eggshells
A client sent me a link today to an article that seems very appropos in many divorces where domestic abuse, including physical, emotional and economic abuse are occurring. Often, it's not until the divorce is in progress that an abused spouse will recognise or acknowledge the abuse. Some of the worst abuse come from a narcissist. See here the Mayo Clinic's description of the narcissistic personality disorder.
Often, a narcissist's emotional abuse towards a spouse escalates during divorce. The good news: abused spouses can minimize the impact of abuse by learning what games narcissists play--but only if they learn to recognize the symptoms and learn how to defend against and deflect the abuse.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is leaving office today, and he's done something to ensure that a certain group will never forget him. People whose family members were murdered now have to live with the knowledge that their loved one's killer is on the loose because Barbour decided to pardon several inmates, including many who killed their wives and girlfriends.
CNN reports that on Sunday afternoon five men serving life sentences, David Gatlin, Joseph Ozment, Charles Hooker, Nathan Kern, and Anthony McCray, were pardoned by Barbour. Each was serving a life sentence and working as a "trustie" at the governor's mansion. In return for good behavior, trusties are allowed to work and live in the mansion.
Today's guest author is Mark E. Sullivan, a retired Army Reserve JAG colonel. Mark practices family law in Raleigh, NC and is the author of THE MILITARY DIVORCE HANDBOOK (Am. Bar Assn., 2nd Ed. 2011), from which portions of this article are adapted. See his contact information below.
1. RETURN OF THE WARRIORS
Empty outposts overseas mean full billets and bedrooms back at home. In view of the “new phase of relations” between the U.S. and Iraq, using Vice-President Joe Biden’s language, many servicemembers (SMs) are returning home. The redeployment of military personnel back to their stateside assignments and their homes is the result of significant drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. SMs who are returning from the Middle East are not only from the active-duty forces (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines); they are also from the Reserve Component, namely, the National Guard and the Reserves. Thus the homecoming impact will be felt nationwide, not just in communities near military bases. While reuniting with one’s family will be a joyous experience for SMs, it may create significant stresses for some. And these stresses may lead to legal consequences.
Now here's a guy who might have qualified for a some kind of a "Darwin Award." The Darwin Award commemorates those who assist natural selection by removing themselves from the gene pool... Darwin Awards are given to honor those who do their best to ensure that the next generation is smarter--by one.
According to the ABA Journal, 28-year-old Paul Henry Gonzalez Jr. assaulted his 23-year-old wife Catherine after a judge ordered him to pay child support and set visitation terms. He came up behind her in a Florida judge's chambers and attached her, giving her two black eyes, broken facial bones and split lips. Catherine's lawyer restrained the man until deputies could get there. Law enforcement used a stun gun to subdue him. He is now jailed in lieu of $1 million bond on a felony battery charge.
For tips on safeguarding against domestic violence during a divorce, see these archives on Updates in Michigan Family Law.
To read the article, see Lawyer Steps In to Help Woman Attacked During Divorce Hearing in Judge’s Chambers, ABA Journal, April 19, 2011.
Prisoners’ groups and defense lawyers are objecting, but New York City jails changed policy in 2007 to permit the tape recording of out-going telephone calls. Such tape recording was already routine in some New York State and federal prisons. The digital system was installed in some jails in 2008 and was completed in 2010 according to a spokesman for the city’s Correction Department. Signs right next to the telephones warn prisoners that their calls may be taped.
That doesn't stop some prisoners from calling the girlfriends or wives they've been charged with assaulting in order to threaten and/or attempt to coerce a domestic violence victim to drop the pending criminal charges. The prosecutor's office then uses the recorded calls against the prisoners to get convictions or pleas. New York defense lawyers complain about prosecutors’ use of the recordings, calling it an unfair system that is a trap for men who are cut off from the world. [Perhaps the take-away here is that perhaps these men are so stupid that they use a fist or weapon rather than words and logic to resolve domestic issues and/or that they just can't read the plain-as-day sign.]
The Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, argued, “There really is no issue of fairness.” He noted that inmates were told that their phone calls would be taped.
To read the entire NY Times article, click here. Abuse Suspects, Your Calls Are Taped. Speak Up. Glabberson, William. Feb. 25, 2011.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here are 103 things you should know about domestic violence. Please forward a link to this article to anyone you know who is a victim of domestic violence. See more resources at the end of the article.
1. By the most conservative estimate, each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey (NCJ-154348), August 1995, p. 3.
2. By other estimates, 4 million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during an average 12-month period. American Psychl. Ass'n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 10.
3. Nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. American Psychl. Ass'n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 10.
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:
Following a trial, the judge entered a final restraining order in favor of plaintiff J.S., based on findings that the parties were in a dating relationship and defendant J.F. made threatens and otherwise harassed plaintiff. The John - the respondent - argued on appeal that since the plaintiff was a dancer in a club he frequented and he was paying for her company, their relationship did not constitute a "dating relationship" within the meaning of the domestic violence statute. Rather, it was a "professional" relationship.
I'm sure the judge was impressed [NOT] when his text messages were introduced into evidence:
October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thus, there has been much discussion this past month in many venues about DV. Men and their supporters are drawing attention to the fact that many articles and blog posts depict men as the perpetrators and women as the victims. In reality, men also can be victims of domestic violence. Sometimes women are perpetrators, and not the victims, of domestic violence.
Some who claim that women are perpetrators as often—or nearly as often—as men point to the following bibliography in support of their thesis: "References Examining Assaults by Women on their Spouses or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography," compiled by Martin S. Fiebert, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach. Last updated: July 2009
In United States v Freschette, the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a trial court ruling granting a motion to suppress evidence allegedly wrongfully obtained. The defendant claimed there was no probable cause to support the issuance and execution of a warrant upon Freschette's home and computer where kiddy porn was found. The issue in the case on appeal is whether it is probable that someone who pays approximately $80 for a subscription to a web site is likely to use that subscription.
I am often requested to post about domestic violence in which the alleged perpetrator is female rather than male. Today the Boston Globe posted a news story about Erica Wang. According to police reports referenced by the Globe, Todd English filed a formal complaint for assault in the Boston area. English asked law enforcement to charge his fiance with assault and criminal possession of a weapon - a men’s watch -
stemming from a September 15th fight with the celebrity chef. Wang was arrested and charged
yesterday with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. English called off the wedding in early October and asked law enforcement to charge her. Wang turned herself in to New York City police at 8 a.m., five days
after English filed an assault complaint against her.
The Boston Globe article may be read here.
In a news feature dated October 12, 2009, Time.com stated:
The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence has promoted a new concept to distinguish mother's protective actions from what abusers do. It is called Domestic Violence by Proxy. You can download a 2 page memo on it from their web site at http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/DVP.html The tiny url is http://tinyurl.com/y8j9uxt
The Memo states that some mothers have called what their batterer is doing "parental alienation syndrome [PAS]." PAS has fallen into disfavor among a large segment of the APA and the ABA Family Law Section, largely due to discrediting of the work of Dr. Richard Gardener, who coined the term. Thus, according to the memo, the label can be turned against a custodial parent using it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a ruling regarding the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction international child abduction petition. Simcox v. Simcox, 499 F. Supp. 2d 946, 950-52 (N.D. Ohio 2007). The decision discusses the role that undertakings should play in rulings that concern the defense against return of the child or children to the left-behind parent. Undertakings generally are safeguards to protect the children from being exposed to, for example, domestic violence or abuse after return.
Hmm let's have a little music with this post . . . Paul Carrack singing "Don't Shed any tears for me" . . . seems like a good accompaniment to this little heart breaker question posed yesterday about how to end a bad relationship. "Cab fare to nowhere is what you are . . . all that I saw in you I now see through . . . "
Here's the question: "How should I advise my client (friend?) to get rid of a free-loader BF (or GF?).
The Washington Post published an Op-Ed piece today by Esta Soler and Karen Musalo regarding amnesty for battered women granted asylum in the United States but left in limbo with regard to immigration status.
"Rody Alvarado Peña, a victim of brutal domestic violence in her native Guatemala, sought refuge in the United States in 1995. An immigration court judge granted her asylum the next year, but almost 14 years later Rody remains in limbo. She is working in a convent in California and hoping that the Obama administration will finally resolve her case and take steps to protect women who flee their countries to escape certain death from gender-based violence.
"The administration recently sent a positive signal about these types of cases, but it needs to do much more. The plight of Alvarado Peña -- an indisputably peaceful woman at risk for deportation -- underscores both the dysfunction in our immigration system and the fact that our nation's promise of mercy and refuge is still applied erratically, even capriciously."
Reporter Ariana Green reports in the May 9, 2009 issue of the New York Times that twelve states have adopted legislation allowing the use of global positioning devices to track and monitor persons against whom personal protection orders ["PPOs"] have been issued. [View the states here.] The purpose, of course, is to make sure that abusers are not violating the PPOs or harassing their former victims. After all, a PPO is merely a piece of paper. It is not a bulletproof shield; it cannot protect a domestic violence victim from further abuse when a violent spouse, former spouse or former domestic partner is determined to harm someone. According to the NY Times, about one-fourth of PPOs are violated each year.
Should parties make public the messy details about their divorce? In this day of blogs, MySpace and YouTube, this question comes up more often than you'd think.
April 22nd’s New Jersey paper Asbury Park Press contains an article about an attorney, John Paragano, who allegedly posted a video of his estranged wife Diana Prior on a MySpace page. The video, titled, "Superdiva Meltdown," allegedly contained selected portions of a video deposition New York radio personality Prior gave in the parties’ divorce case. Allegedly, the portions posted were selectively chosen to embarrass her and to reveal personal and embarrassing details of her life.
April 8, 2009: Research shows that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic abuse is when he or she is trying to separate from or leave the other party. Sadly, an extreme example of this was seen late yesterday in Alabama. Below you will find links to articles telling you how to make a safety plan if you are a victim of domestic abuse. Family lawyers can share these articles with clients who have a need for the materials.
On March 25, 2009, a judge in Broward County Florida took a very proactive approach to a domestic violence case. Apparently, a man had been brought to the courtroom in handcuffs. Likely, he'd been arrested for domestic violence and had spent the night in jail. At the hearing, a woman testified against him. For some inexplicable reason, the handcuffs were removed from the suspect. Violence ensued. The man began to pummel the witness. What happened next gives new meaning to the phrase "Here comes da judge!"
Some time ago, the State Bar of Michigan Listserv discussed whether lawyers who receive information from a client that communicates a credible threat of danger to an identifiable third party have a duty to communicate the threat to the third party and/or to law enforcement agencies. That common law duty to warn arose in Tarasoff v Regents of Univ of California, 17 Cal 3d 425; 551 P2d 334 (1976) and it was in that context that we discussed it.
A new Michigan Court of Appeals case makes a lawyer’s concern about common law duties to third parties even more compelling.
In Jasina v Jasina, Docket No. 275583, the Michigan court of appeals held that the trial court properly refused to issue a personal protection order against the Petitioner's brother. The allegation was made, and supported by a tape-recorded telephone conversation, that the Respondent had said "Stay away from me or I will punch you in the head."
The COA panel stated that this was insufficient to support issuance of a PPO since if the Petitioner simply stayed away from his brother, there would be no threat of harm. In other words, as I've heard some characterize such statements, "I'm not making a threat; I am making a promise."
In Hayford v Hayford, Docket No 276176, decided June 10, 2008 [For Publication], the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a personal protection order that prohibited a non-custodial parent from contact with his 18-year old son.
In this case, the respondent father apparently had visitation rights with his son, the petitioner, pursuant to an order of custody under the Child Custody Act (“CCA”). The father argued that the PPO impermissibly modified the parenting time order. But the COA held that, under the CCA, once the child attained the age of 18, even though he was still in high school, and even though the father was required to support the child and provide him with medical care until the child’s graduation from high school, the father no longer had a right to parenting time, citing Bert v Bert, 154 Mich App 208, 211; 397 NW2d 270 (1986).
Yesterday John P. Tassinari shot his wife, Barbara, multiple times with two 45-caliber handguns in the driveway of their Quincy, Massachusetts home. She died at the scene. She left two children, one 10-year-old son from a prior relationship and a 1-year-old from her marriage to Tassinari.
John Tassinari was described as follows by Barbara's family:
The Internet gives people a new forum for publicly airing their dirty linen. Tricia Walsh Smith, not your usual British housewife, is publishing personal and embarrassing facts about her marriage and divorce. She's angry that her husband won't offer her more than was agreed upon in a prenuptial agreement. She's not writing a Blog. Instead, she's gone to YouTube.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors involving physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse of an intimate partner for the purpose of establishing and maintaining power and control over the other partner. When batterers fear that they are losing control of their victims, the violence often escalates. Research shows that victims of domestic violence are most at risk when they are attempting to leave the batterer. Access to a victim's address, telephone number, etc. can endanger a victim of domestic violence.
Violence against women by intimate partners results in similar health effects worldwide — regardless of culture, class, or race — Lancet reports.
World Health Organization researchers interviewed some 20,000 women from South America, Asia, and Africa, first about their current health status and then about their lifetime experience of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a male partner.
The researchers found that women with any experience of abuse were more likely to report:
The authors call the consistent association between violence and ill health across the regions of the world "striking." Writing in Journal Watch Psychiatry, M. Katherine Shear reminds clinicians "that leaving an offending partner increases risk for homicide."
Some good comments have come from fellow family law practitioners to my post on safe Internet use. One -- and and the emphasis is mine -- from P. Rowland Graff of St. George, Utah says:
I am sure that we will see more of this in the future because
computers are so prevalent in today's society. According to the ABA journal
online, A West Virginia Attorney will be suspended for two years for hacking his
wife's email account at her law office. Does Lawyer’s E-Mail Snooping Merit
2-Year Suspension? http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/does_lawyers_e_mail_snooping_merit_2_year_suspension.
According to the article, the husband was able to guess his wife's password.
Many people use passwords that are comprised of easy-to-remember components, such as part of an address or phone number, a child's name, a pet's name. Let's face it: With a little effort, people who know you well can usually guess your password.
Do take seriously the issue of Internet safety. As a general rule, if you have any concerns about the safety of your Internet communications, do not use a home computer.
For fellow lawyers, here's a tip I received from attorney Jeffrey Zoeller of East Lansing, Michigan, who took a proactive approach to the potential for Internet surveillance:
Whether you are researching the Internet while doing pre-divorce planning, in a relationship with an abuser, or discussing divorce strategy with your lawyer or a friend, you need to take precautions ro avoid exposing your plans and strategies to your spouse or abuser. Otherwise, you risk danger of injury by an abuser or interference with the settlement of custody, parenting time, or property issues.
One of the first things I ask a new client is: "Does your spouse know your email account password?"
The communications you have with your divorce lawyer are intended to be confidential. This is particularly important when you and your lawyer are doing strategic planning. And nowadays, client-lawyer communications often occur via email, as they do with my practice when my clients live far from my office.
The following are some tips for using email and the Internet safely and securely, while preventing your spouse from reading your email or seeing what informational websites you access online:
On February 15, 2008 the New York Times published an article entitled "When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly" by Lizette Alvarex and Deborah Sontag. The article details the failure of the Department of Defense's Family Advocacy Program to protect the families of military personnel from domestic violence. The stress of war has exacerbated the pressure on our military personnel and has led to terrible, often fatal, acts of domestic violence.
The question is: How can these violent acts be prevented? I urge all lawyers who have any contact with and/or are representing family members of military personnel to read this article to the end. It's not easy. The cases described in the article are horrific.
I have just discovered one of the most valuable resources for domestic violence victims and survivors I’ve seen to date: “Beyond Escaping: A domestic violence booklet with additional information for survivors.” Resources and information needed by your clients dealing with domestic violence, as well as detailed instructions about how to protect themselves and their children, are contained in this 12-page, easy-to-read pamphlet.
This valuable resource was compiled by the Michigan Women’s Commission in August 2005. Important subjects such as:
You can view, print, or download a copy of this 12-page document here. Distribute it to clients with domestic violence issues to assist them in assessing and managing their legal and personal safety issues.
According to a report in the Boston Globe on January 14, 2008, domestic violence shelters throughout Massachusetts are becoming overwhelmed with people seeking refuge from domestic violence. Domestic violence advocates and directors of shelters report that they just cannot handle the huge numbers of applicants. They say that they are forced, increasingly, to turn victims away. The net result is that some of those seeking help are forced to return to abusive partners or to live on the streets.
In Massachusetts, it’s reported that the number of persons refused shelter has quadrupled between 2003, when 1,374 were turned away to 5,520 in 2005. These numbers come from Jane Doe, Inc., which is a Massachusetts statewide coalition against sexual assault and domestic violence that also tracks trends.
To read the article "Shelters can’t help all fleeing abuse", click here. A one-time registration may be required.
Learning how to protect yourself against an abuser is essential, particularly since research shows that the most dangerous time for a woman who is in an abusive relationship is when she is trying to leave her abuser.
Perhaps you remember the strange case of Dr. Bartha. He's the guy who blew up an historic building in New York City after a divorce court ordered him to sell the building and split the net sale proceeds with his former wife. He had claimed the building as his separate property. His point, I suppose, was "If I can't have it, then neither can you." I wrote about it here in "Bizarre end to separate property dispute."
Another bizarre case is pending in Vermont where William Krasnansky publishes a Blog found at http://lookatmypugs.livejournal.com/. Mr. Krasnansky's wife "Runnoft" (according to him), leaving him, the two pugs, and the cat. Unfortunately, she also left behind -- Uh Oh -- about seven years' worth of journals, portions of which he has been selectively publishing online. [NOTE: Ignore the barking dogs.]
Despite an ex parte court order issued Dec. 7, 2007 that orders him to take down "any and all Internet postings" about his wife or their marriage, Mr. Krasnansky has refused to take down his blog. He states that leaving the Blog up is “a deliberate act of civil disobedience.”
We received the following notice:
"The October 2007 AFCC eNEWS is now available online. The AFCC eNEWS is a bi-monthly e-newsletter published by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). AFCC eNEWS provides professionals with time sensitive and up-to-date topics including case law updates, research innovations and international news. The October 2007 issue features an update on the AFCC and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Domestic Violence and Family Courts Project; free online audio samples of the AFCC and NCJFCJ Regional Training Conference, Applications for High Conflict Families, Domestic Violence and Alienation, September 27-29, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio; research updates; international news; and more." By AFCC Please click the link below to view the October 2007 AFCC eNEWS. Link to AFCC eNEWS
Sometimes a non-custodial parent abducts a child and takes the child to another country, refusing return to the custodial parent. Many countries are signatories to The Hague Convention, an international compact that helps custodial parents recover children who are abducted and held in foreign countries. A valuable resource, a practitioner's guide to litigating Hague Convention cases, has been created and is made available to the public and to practicing attorneys by the International Missing Children’s Division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The manual, “Litigating International Child Abduction Cases Under the Hague Convention,” was prepared by the law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and is a valuable resource for all attorneys litigating Hague Convention cases in U.S. federal or state courts.
The manual provides guidelines and relevant case law relating to litigating a Hague Convention case for the return of or access to a child. Other valuable Hague Convention resources are available online at www.missingkids.com.
Thanks to Diana Skaggs of Divorce Law Journal for bringing this to our attention.
The Macomb Daily reported on June
17, 2007 that a Macomb County judge fined 32-year-old Theresa Owen $500 when she
appeared and asked the court to dismiss the domestic violence charges that she
had filed against her husband.
At first glance, this decision seems to unjustly discourage victims of domestic violence from coming forward to charge their boyfriends, spouses, significant others of committing acts of domestic violence. A criminal law professor whom I greatly admired would have condemned this decision as one that unfairly closed the courthouse doors to victims of criminal conduct.
Reading farther, however, one learns that this isn't the first time that Mrs. Owen had made the county commit hundreds of dollars in resources -- ranging from law enforcement personnel to prosecutors, to judicial resources -- investigating allegations of domestic abuse by her husband. As the newspaper reports, Mr. Owen was also arrested in 2003 and 2006 when Mrs. Owen alleged domestic violence. Both of those cases were dismissed when she failed to appear in court.
Certainly it is true that some perpetrators of domestic violence are coerced into dropping the charges. It would be my preference that the decision of the Macomb County judge not cause other judges to adopt fines as punishment when alleged victims of DV refuse to prosecute. Rather, each case should be judged on its individual facts. Where the facts support a history of false allegations, then perhaps a fine is appropriate. It's something about the “boy who cried Wolf . . . " We need to be able to make resources available to legitimate victims of DV.
You can read the Macomb News report here.
You can imagine the outrage following the reversal of a rape conviction by the court of appeals in Maryland on October 30, 2006 when the court ruled that the judge erred in not instructing the jury that it's not rape if a woman consents to sex but then withdraws her consent after the moment of penetration.
In this case involving an alleged perpetrator aged 16, the Court of Special Appeals said Monday that “no rape occurred if the jury found that” the 18-year-old woman in the case “withdrew her prior consent after penetration.” However, a refusal to stop might constitute assault, the court said. The appellate court quoted a 1945 decision in State v. Allen (1945) to support its conclusion:
“But, to be sure, it was the act of penetration that was the essence of the crime of rape; after this initial infringement upon the responsible male's interest in a woman's sexual and reproductive functions, any further injury was considered to be less consequential. The damage was done. It was this view that the moment of penetration was the point in time, after which a woman could never be "re-flowered," that gave rise to the principle that, if a woman consents prior to penetration and withdraws consent following penetration, there is no rape.
You can read the decision in Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland here.
To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here.
A Florida court has ruled that a personal protection order issued in that state was invalid for lack of personal jurisdiction where the only contacts Husband had with Wife in that Florida were voice and text messages left on her cellular telephone while she was present there. Husband's phone records clearly showed that he was in Maryland and there was no evidence that he knew that Wife was present in Florida at the time he left the messages on her cellular phone. The court noted that Wife was not without protection, because she could obtain a protective order against Husband in his state of residence. If she had such an order, Florida would be required to give the order full faith and credit under the Violence Against Women Act (18 U.S.C. § 2265) and Florida statutes. Moreover Florida would be required to enforce the order whether or not it was registered in Florida.
Read the case at this link: Becker v. Johnson, 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 13194 (August 8, 2006) (last visited August 10, 2006 jmh)
To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here