Last week, I was served with a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order. I have not spoken with, nor have I had any contact with this woman in four months, yet she went to the courthouse and filed for an injunction. It was granted at an ex parte hearing.
In her complaint, she alleges that we lived together (we did not), and that I am stalking her (I am not), and that I showed up at her workplace, and this got her fired. (edited to add: now that the case is done, I can say that the last part is true, I did show up at her workplace, and that did get her fired, but not because I was stalking her. See this post) There are no allegations that I committed any violent act, nor are there any claims that I threatened any violent acts. The basis of her claim is that I own a lot of guns, and she is afraid that I might "snap" one day.
We had our first hearing, and asked for a continuance, so that we could subpoena witnesses for my defense. It was granted.
Upon the advice of my attorney, I cannot give any further details on the specifics of this case until after the next hearing, which will be held in three weeks. Until then, I cannot possess firearms or ammunition. I have to make sure that I have witnesses that can attest to whereabouts at all times, so that I am not accused of being near her.
I can, however, give you details about how the law is abused. Here are the disturbing statistics:
25% of all divorces include accusations of domestic violence.
50% of all domestic violence restraining orders are issued without allegations of violence.
70% of domestic violence restraining orders are trivial or false. (PDF warning)
85% of restraining orders are against men
In fact, a New Mexico woman filed a restraining order against David Letterman in 2005, alleging that she was a victim of his domestic abuse. He had never met the woman. She said that he was using secret code words to threaten her during his television show. The judge in the case found her claims to have merit, and granted the order, even though it was later overturned.
The law says that women can make an accusation of domestic violence, and the court will punish the man by issuing a restraining order without him being allowed to defend himself. He gets a hearing two weeks later, but by that time, his guns have been taken, and his concealed weapons permit revoked. There is no fee for the woman to do this.
She gets a free lawyer. He does not. When it is discovered that she lied, nothing happens to her. She will not be prosecuted, and cannot be sued.
Generally, I will leave you with the words of the Florida State Supreme Court:
Unfortunately, the current version of section 784.046 does not seem to permit the trial court to simply dismiss a sworn petition that does not allege facts that fall within the statutory language. Instead, section 784.046(5) requires that "[u]pon the filing of the petition, the court shall set a hearing to be held at the earliest possible time." (Emphasis added.) The result is the use of scant judicial resources to conduct unnecessary hearings based on pleadings that could never support the issuance of an injunction. These same hearings often serve only to inflame the parties' emotions and foster further uncivil behavior. I would encourage the legislature to consider amending the domestic violence and repeat violence statutes to allow judges to dismiss petitions that, on their face, do not contain allegations sufficient to meet the statutory requirements without prejudice to the petitioner refiling a legally sufficient petition if he or she can do so.Women who lie to use the law as a weapon cannot be punished. From the same decision:
Further, nowhere in section 784.046 is there any provision for an award of sanctions against a petitioner who uses the statutory provisions concerning injunctions as a sword rather than a shield.
This blog will be down until this can be cleared up.