Preventing Abuse: Balancing stalking orders against abuse of the judicial system
A restraining order is available for Oregon when a domestic partner or other qualifying relation abuses or threatens abuse of the petitioner.
Stalking Protective Orders on the other hand require proof that a person has been subject to repeated and unwanted contact that coerces them or causes reasonable apprehension regarding personal safety. Stalking orders are a vital tool in preventing abuse and protecting persons, particularly women, from contact that reasonably places them in fear for their own safety.
These unwanted contacts can include crimes committed by a party, such as assault or physical harassment, following or waiting for a person outside their work, school, or home, or making legitimate threats of serious and imminent personal violence
To obtain a restraining order or a stalking protective order a party can fill out a petition form to be presented before a judge ex parte (without the other party being notified). This allows a safe avenue for a person to obtain a protective order.
Unfortunately, this uncontested scenario is ripe for abuse. To obtain a stalking order all a person has to do is fill out a form alleging two or more alarming contacts. Although the petition is signed under penalty of perjury and the respondent is entitled to a hearing, there are immediate consequences to the respondent regardless of the final outcome. First, there is a court finding of probable cause that the respondent is a stalker. Second, collateral consequences often occur with employment. Many employers don’t want to retain an employee that has been found by the court to be a stalker. Third, it immediately affects a person’s right to carry a concealed firearm.
In Lane County, Oregon there is a culture of people who abuse protective orders, using them as a tool to aid in an uncomfortable yet non-threatening breakup (e.g., lovesick telephone calls), to get even with a neighbor or a boyfriend’s ex, or to gain advantage in a custody case. This sort of abuse undermines the legitimate stalking claims. Fortunately, stalking orders and restraining orders are civil litigation cases and you can conduct depositions and use other legal strategies defend your good name if being falsely accused or prove your case if you have been stalked or abused.
Oregon lawyer Mike Arnold has tried many stalking order and retraining cases in court and has argued stalking order case law before the Oregon Court of Appeals. Stalking orders require a specific knowledge of the relevant Oregon cases, particularly those cases involving protected speech (State v. Rangel and its progeny).
To check and see if Mike Arnold is taking new clients or to get a referral elsewhere, text or call 541-797-0110 or send an email.