Articles Tagged with orders of protection

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200Juan Lopez, the man who gunned down a police officer and two hospital employees (one of whom was his former fiance) before turning the gun on himself, is now known to have had an order of protection filed against him by his ex-wife. The same day, the man entered her home, stole some of her property, and then destroyed everything else. His ex-wife told officers that the man responsible for destruction and theft had a key to the place and that she had a protective order issued for her husband. Detectives never questioned Lopez, however, who would have been the key suspect in any follow-up investigation.

Reports Unearthed Years After Shooting

The Chicago Tribune unearthed the report years after the shooting after an open records request. The details raised renewed concerns about how seriously law enforcement takes restraining orders. In this case, the wife had a restraining order against her husband and the husband appeared to violate that restraining order, in the process, committing a serious crime. However, police never followed up on the lead and Lopez went on to commit an even more serious crime.

ben-white-194220-copy-300x200The state will always interfere in domestic relationships if there is a threat of harm or actual harm to one of the parties. The most common trigger for a prosecution is physical violence. However, lately there has been some consideration of what other forms of abuse might mean for legislation in Chicago. Currently there are some civic domestic violence laws that are focused on both physical and non-physical forms of abuse. Sexual abuse between domestic partners is normally handled under the legislation covering sexual assault and rape.

Most members of the public will first hear about a domestic violence case by way of an order of protection, which is sometimes accompanied by relevant restraining orders. It is important to note that these orders can be issued by the criminal courts as well as the civil courts. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act is the leading piece of legislation covering this area. The act is known for covering many relationship types beyond marriage including but not restricted to:

  • Former spouses

The laws and rules relating to orders of protection in Chicago normally stem from domestic disputes. Typically, spouses seeking orders of protection are estranged or facing domestic violence. However, that does not mean that the law does not touch on other domesticated arrangements including the relationships between roommates and family members. This is a serious legal process that has significant financial implications for the party that is found to be at fault. It can even lead to a criminal record which filters down to job security, visitation rights, and custody disputes. That is why defendants in such cases will fight tooth and nail to ensure that an order of protection is not listed against them. Needless to say that the faults in writing the legislation, the police procedures as well as its wide implications has meant that it is open for abuse. This abuse is primarily associated with the application for protective orders based on false or incomplete information.

The Role of the Attorney in Getting Justice

Fact finding is an essential aspect of the protective order and will ultimately determine whether it is allowed or not. Therefore it is the responsibility of the defendant’s attorney to ensure that all relevant facts are considered. Some might be aggravating whilst others might be mitigating. The classic defense position is to maximize the mitigating issues whilst simultaneously minimizing the aggravating aspects. So far the courts have not been too vigilant in punishing those who cause them to issue unwarranted orders of protection. For example, there is sparse use of the perjury provisions of the law in these cases; partly due to the inherent belief within the criminal justice system that orders of protection lie more within the ambit of family law than criminal law.