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Restraining order abuse is a form of abuse of process or malicious prosecution in which a plaintiff applies for a restraining order for a purpose other than that for which it was intended. Usually, people who go against the rules of a restraining order are searching for some sort of revenge or harassment.  Though, at times, some victims have a delusional perspective and believe their actions are justified.

Restraining order applicants aren’t screened, whether based on their being under psychiatric care or having a history of mental illness, on their possessing criminal records, or on their having previously sought one or multiple restraining orders in the past. Some restraining order abusers are repeat offenders who know how to game the system for malicious ends. Restraining order abuse is open to all comers. The courts don’t discriminate, and it doesn’t take a criminal mastermind. It doesn’t, in fact even take a good liar, just a willing one. Though lying to obtain a restraining order is a felony offense (perjury), this crime is never prosecuted, so all a malicious plaintiff risks is disappointment if his or her application is denied or his or her injunction is quashed on appeal—and there’s nothing to stop him or her from reapplying. Getting fraudulent restraining orders against the same defendant in multiple jurisdictions isn’t unheard of, nor is getting fraudulent restraining orders against multiple defendants. Accountability in this process is nil.

Obtaining a restraining order can require less than an hour’s time and is usually free for the asking. Any adult who walks into a courthouse is entitled to apply. Actual time before a judge may be mere minutes, and restraining orders are issued ex parte, which means a judge’s basis for approving one is the plaintiff’s word alone, along with any evidence he may present during the brief interview, which evidence may of course be forged, skewed, or misrepresented. And injunctions may be approved in the absence of any corroborating “evidence” at all. The entitlement to due process is categorically denied to restraining order defendants. Black’s Law Dictionary (6th ed.) states: “Due process of law in each particular case means such an exercise of the powers of the government as the settled maxims of law permit and sanction, and under such safeguards for the protection of individual rights as those maxims prescribe for the class of cases to which the one in question belongs,” (Black’s Law Dictionary). Pertaining to those defending the restraining order, the prescribed “safeguards for the protection of individual rights” (Black’s Law Dictionary), are none.

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