Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Case Law Development: Protective Orders may be Issued to Protect Victims upon Release of Perpetrators from Prison

The Court of Appeals of Massachusetts affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a protective order against a defendant who was being released after eight years in prison.  Wife had a protective order against her ex-husband, who had been convicted of raping two of her children, but let it lapse while he was in prison.  Learning of his imminent release, she filed for another protective order.   The court of appeals treated the trial court's decision as an extension of the previous order, even though it had lapsed, because "prison is the ultimate restraining order."  Husband argued that there was no basis for extending the protective order because he had no direct contact with plaintiff or the children in eight years so there was no basis for determining that wife or son were in reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm.  The Court of Appeals disagreed. The seriousness of his previous attacks on both wife and children was relevant.  Moreover, while in prison, he had engaged in "ominously controlling and wrathful behavior" including accusing wife and children in the press and over the internet of bringing false charged and encumbering and transferring marital assets, were sufficient ground for issuing a protective order when he planned to live in the same general area as Wife and the son.

Vittone v. Clairmont, 64 Mass App. Ct. 479, 2005 Mass. App. LEXIS 852 (September 10, 2005)
Available on the web at http://www.socialaw.com/slip.htm?cid=15483&sid=119
(last visited September 27, 2005 bgf)

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