The list of items for which one 16 year old can now get a restraining order against another 16 year old is almost endless. This new law allows for emergency, ex-party retraining orders without any family or dating relationship, which go on the defendant’s criminal record for ever, just like current 209A orders – and violation of them is a criminal offense with potential incarceration, which means new categories of state paid indigent defense criminal cases.
Maybe we should have specialized “restraining order courts” now, to avoid clogging the other courts, and have expertise so as to weed out the bogus, vindictive, harassing anti-harassment complaints from the truly bullied and harassed?
Anyway, here is a quote from Chapter 23 of the Acts of 2010:
“Abuse”, attempting to cause or causing physical harm to another or placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm.
“Harassment”, (i) 3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property; or (ii) an act that: (A) by force, threat or duress causes another to involuntarily engage in sexual relations; or (B) constitutes a violation of section 13B, 13F, 13H, 22, 22A, 23, 24, 24B, 26C, 43 or 43A of chapter 265 or section 3 of chapter 272.
There is no filing fee. These orders can be sought and granted over the telephone after hours, and the complaining party can seek monetary damages. If allegedly violated, any juvenile who has been accused, and any indigent adult, will now be entitled to an attorney at the expense of the Commonwealth.
Apparently, this law goes into effect on May 10, 2010 – and there is no equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office to say what the costs of this new law will be to courts, law enforcement, or in indigent defense appointments].
Given that the Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment in real numbers will be over 10% this year and next year and maybe down to 9% by 2012, there are way too many people who are unhappy AND have way too much time on their hands.
Again, shall we establish a Court just for these and other Restraining Orders to avoid clogging and shutting down the other courts – with its own trackable line item?