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Protective order — part 2

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


A few weeks ago I wrote about protective orders and the crime of invasion of privacy. Due to the enthusiastic response I received (from one person), I decided to write more.

There are many different reasons and fact-patterns that might lead a person to petition for a protective order. In many cases, the reason a person seeks such protection is because he is afraid that someone else might harm him. Unless the case involves a stalking situation, the person petitioning must have some sort intimate or domestic relationship with the person against whom he seeks protection.

The vast majority of protective orders involve individuals who are or were either married or involved in an intimate relationship. The person seeking a protective order (the petitioner) presents his reasons or evidence to a judge or magistrate. At this first hearing, the person from whom the petitioner is seeking protection (the respondent) is not in attendance. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court determines whether an ex parte (one-sided) protective order is warranted.

If a protective order is granted, the order is delivered to the respondent and the respondent is advised, among other things, to stay away from the petitioner. Upon written request, the respondent can challenge the allegations at a subsequent hearing.

Meet Jim. He’s 23 and just finished school. Jim used to date Lisa. She’s 22. They met in school and have dated, on and off, for over a year. About six months ago, Jim was looking through Lisa’s cell phone and saw that she had been texting quite a bit with her former boyfriend. Jim confronted Lisa. Lisa didn’t appreciate Jim’s attitude and she told him to leave her apartment. On his way out, Jim pushed over a chair and slammed her door.

Lisa sent Jim a text telling him that she needed some time. A few minutes later, Jim started sending texts to Lisa. In one text, Jim said, “If I find out u with him u b sorry.” Lisa sent Jim a text telling him to stop. Jim replied that he wasn’t going to stop. Lisa was worried. Jim sent a few more texts and called her phone a few more times that afternoon. Lisa didn’t answer.

After speaking with her best friend, Lisa decided to petition for a protective order the next day. She told the judge what happened and she explained that she was scared that Jim might try to hurt her. She told the judge she had never before seen him this mad. The judge asked her if Jim ever hit or hurt her. Lisa said he had not. The judge issued the ex parte protective order. Lisa received a few more texts that day from Jim. Jim said he was sorry and asked if she would talk. Lisa knew that Jim wasn’t yet aware that a protective order had been granted. She responded with one text, “we can talk but I need some time.”

Time passed and Lisa hadn’t heard anything from Jim for weeks. She hoped he was okay. She missed him. One night, Lisa was out with some friends when she saw Jim at a mutual friend’s party. She tried unsuccessfully to make eye contact with him. She noticed Jim was putting on his coat and so she went up to him and asked how he was doing.

Jim stated he was sorry for the way he acted. He told her he missed her. She told him the same. They talked for a while. Jim mentioned that he wasn’t supposed to be talking with her. Lisa told Jim that she wanted to talk and that it was okay as long as she was okay…

Once she found out Jim wasn’t driving, Lisa offered to drive him home. Jim accepted. They continued to talk. Lisa got pulled over on the way home for speeding. The officer was very nice and asked for Lisa’s license and registration. The officer returned from his car moments later and asked Jim for his identification. Lisa told the officer that she offered to give Jim a ride and that everything was great.

The officer arrested Jim for invasion of privacy, a Class A misdemeanor.

Jim assumed he was not violating the order because Lisa had initiated contact and had offered to give him a ride. Jim was wrong.

Learn more about protective orders at www.courts.in.gov.

Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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