DILEMMA ON CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS
By Robert G. Leclair
OVW's dilemma to criminalize or decriminalize civil protection/restraining orders has been going on for years
without resolution. My JUNE 22, 2015 article explains why it is such a dilemma. OVW wants to maintain the civil
protection orders process rather than revert to the prior 1979 criminal process that was handled by criminal
courts where due process, evidentiary hearings and innocent until proven guilty were standard elements.
OVW's remaining problem was to influence the judges that handle civil protection orders to continue granting
them without question and bypass the criminal process. And, in the process treat the domestic violence
allegation as a criminal act with stringent penalties.
In order to achieve this dichotomous feat or ridiculous request, OVW again reached in to the bottomless pool of
taxpayer dollars and awarded a 2010 grant to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Family
Violence Department (a nonprofit organization) to produce a "Guide for Improving Practice for Civil
Protection Orders" for wide distribution to professionals and the Judicial system.
Like its 2005 predecessor The Burgandy Books "thousands of copies were distributed to judges, advocates,
law enforcement officers, prosecutors and attorneys in this country and abroad and hundreds of training programs
undertaken to educate professionals about the appropriate issuance and enforcement of Civil Protection
Orders". What a great promotional idea sponsored by our tax dollars!
The Guide to Civil Protection Orders is presumably OVW's instrument to allow judges to grant allegations of
domestic violence to women, bypassing criminal due process and evidentiary hearings.
Or, is it only a huge "Tour de Force" comparable to influence peddling?
How can Hillary Clinton say "call allegations of domestic violence what it is...a crime" when as a lawyer she
knows that the judicial Civil Protection Order process remains flawed?
LOOK AT IT THIS WAY
Like all other nonprofit organizations associated with OVW the National Council of Juvenile and Family
Court Judges Family Violence Department (NCJFCJ) is a nonprofit that espouses and promotes VAWA's
ideology and principles. NCJFCJ receives numerous grants from the federal government (OVW and others) as
well as from private foundations and organizations. NCJFCJ's financials show just how much is spent on violence
The criticisms in my book are aimed at the radical feminist ideology that served as the basis for OVW's
approach to combat violence against women. It also revealed why the approach is not working and why ultimately
it will fail to protect women against violence and abuse. The goal of protecting women against violence is
achievable and beyond dispute; however, the present policies and procedures adopted by OVW and the
Judicial system need drastic reform. The vast majority of paid workers and volunteers working in these non
profit organization are honest and dedicated people and should not be blamed for the failed approach of an
ideology doomed to failure. Their leadership is ultimately responsible for the fiasco.
Take a look at the Guide to Civil Protection Orders published by NCJFCJ. It is a well written document full of
valuable information on domestic violence. It was approved by judges, lawyers and a special committee of
highly knowledgeable people as well as by OVW.
So why can I say with certainty that the Guide:
1) is a masterpiece of rhetoric wasted on a flawed court process
2) is a house of cards with no substantive foundation
3) is a perception of what should be rather than what it is in reality?
And the reason is...the Guide lacks the basic ingredients that would make it useful and credible:
Due Process, Rules of Evidence and the standard of innocent until proven gulity.
TROUBLING UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE?
Until the Civil Protection Order court process is revamped, NCJFCJ's Guide could lead to unintended emotional
and financial trouble for both the plaintiff and defendant. The inherent danger is the fact that 85% of the
protection/restraining orders are filed by and granted to women. And, the Guide has been
widely distributed to judges, lawyers, advocates and to all involved with domestic violence prior to
implementation of needed reform. The major problem concerns the court's handling of false allegations and
perception of violence not based on reality that frequently occur when the allegation of domestic violence is
filed. Throw in all the He Said/She Said cases that judges have trouble with in determining the truth, the Guide
can then lead to emotional and financial problems for everybody. There is a definite probability that an innocent
person may be punished or the real perpetrator may get away with murder.
Innocent defendants have a difficult if not impossible time to defend against the allegations when faced with
opposing lawyers and women's advocates and judges who have no tools to determine the truth. The Guide
tends to introduce many elements that exacerbate arguments and controversy. And, everybody knows that
lawyer fees increase as the case becomes more and more adversarial.
FACT AND NOT A MYTH
Divorce has always been considered Big Business and the only significant reform were changes that enhanced
the business culture such as No Fault divorce and Alimony laws. No changes were ever attempted to ease the
trauma to children by establishing "shared custody" as the norm rather than the exception. Now it seems like
Domestic Violence will not play second fiddle to the Divorce culture and will seek its top place in Big Business.
If OVW's radical approach succeeds in linking and making domestic violence part of the Divorce process, once
again Divorce will become the Top Gun of Big Business. And, the losers will be: family, family values and those
suffering from the human tragedy of PTSD...Post Traumatic Stress of Divorce.
OVW's failed approach, its exclusionary philosophy and the hundreds nonprofit organizations espousing
and supporting their ill-fated ideology are the major reasons why the war on stopping the violence against
women has failed and why women are duped by a false sense of security.
All written material, graphic images and Original art work copyrighted 2021 Robert G. Leclair