Judge Refuses to Issue Final Restraining Order After Trial
Mr. Oliver, one of the firms founding partners, just finished up a final restraining order trial this week. Our client, who was the Defendant in the matter, was served with a temporary restraining order at the end of June. After appearing at his initial appearance and hearing the possible ramifications if the restraining order was imposed, the Defendant decided to seek an adjournment to retain counsel. Once the Defendant retained our services, Mr. Oliver began reviewing the discovery, which included police reports, body camera footage, the temporary restraining order, graphic photos from the incident and graphic photos form alleged prior acts of domestic violence. Based on the Defendant’s wishes, Mr. Oliver spoke to the Plaintiff’s counsel about working out what is known as civil restraints. Civil restraints is a very common middle ground when someone is seeking a permanent restraining order. It a legal document, in essence a contract, that the parties will enter into. The civil restraints will ultimately take place of the restraining order. It traditionally spells out the special conditions, one of which is no contact, just like a final restraining order. However, it does not come with some of the serious consequences, like the forfeiting of your right to bear arms, that a final restraining order does. In this case, the victim vehemently opposed the civil restraints and we proceeded to trial.
As Mr. Oliver prepared for trial, he realized that the Defendant’s version of events were in stark contrast to that of the Plaintiff’s. Furthermore, it became apparent that the Plaintiff had conveniently left out several important facts in her temporary restraining order. In the temporary restraining order the victim alleged that the Defendant had violently attacked her yet again, this time causing a contusion to her forehead, a busted lip, ligature marks around her neck and bruising to her chest area. The Plaintiff also provided photographs that allegedly depicted the injuries of not only this incident but several prior incidents as well. Throughout the cross examination of the Plaintiff and the arresting officer, a tremendous amount of inconsistencies were exploited by Mr. Oliver. In fact, by the end of the trial, it became apparent that the Plaintiff’s version of events, even the accuracy of the photographs, was seriously called into question. It was apparent to Mr. Oliver at this point that the plaintiff was simply trying to get the Defendant removed from the home and was using the court system to do it. That is what Mr. Oliver reiterated over and over again during his summation. Using the judicial system, more specifically restraining orders, “as a sword, as opposed to as a shield” is something that Judges really frown upon.
When the Judge issued her decision, not only did she not impose a final restraining order but she also failed to find that the underlying predicate act of domestic violence even occurred. In this particular case, the underlying “act of domestic violence” alleged here was simple assault, in violation of NJSA 2C:12-1a and harassment, in violation of NJSA 2C:33-4. This is rather significant because the Defendant is also charged criminal and will be defending those charges in Municipal Court. So, since the Judge failed to find, by a lesser standard of proof (preponderance of evidence) that the Defendant committed an act of simple assault and harassment, it is highly unlikely that the prosecution will seek to prosecute the Defendant criminally as well. This was a tremendous victory for the Defendant as not only did he have the underlying temporary restraining order dismissed outright but he will also most likely have his criminal charges dismissed as well. So, finally after three long months, the Defendant can finally move forward with his life, including having his firearms returned to him. Which would not have been the case had the Judge imposed the final restraining order.
Restraining Order Attorneys in Freehold NJ
If you have been issued a temporary restraining order or charged with an act of domestic violence in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. These are very serious charges and as such require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys defend clients served with a restraining order and charged criminally with aggravated assault, stalking, terroristic threats, harassment, endangering the welfare of a child and false imprisonment. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation today then please contact us at 732-858-6959. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Hazlet, Holmdel, Middletown, Freehold, Ocean Township, Asbury Park, Wall Township, West Long Branch and Belmar.
M.R. v. C.R. 2017