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How Powerful Are The Family Courts?


The family courts can do whatever is needed to be done to affect equity, which would basically mean fairness. If someone told someone to “just do what is fair,” then they would have a lot more power than if they said, “you can put them into jail, you can issue a fine of this amount, these are your ranges, now just do what is fair.” Depending on what the person had done, doing what was fair might not be the best thing for them.

Are Most People Aware Of The Powers Of The Family Court Judge?

No, most people think they would just be able to go down to the judge and apologize for what happened, but they do not realize that a lot of bad things could happen in Family Court, so by going into the Family Court without an attorney, they would really be at a considerable disadvantage without counsel, whether they were prosecuting the restraining order or defending it.

Are Domestic Violence Allegations Bondable Charges Or Offenses?

There would be no bail on the final restraining order or for violations of the restraining order, so the person would have to wait until they could see a judge, although that would usually not happen. This would usually come up on the criminal part of the case where bail would be issued and it would usually be about a thousand dollars depending on the act, so if the person knifed their girlfriend, it would be a lot more than if they had just gotten into a loud argument.

The fact of the matter is that most of the time, the person would probably be looking at a bail of a thousand dollars from the Municipal Court judge when the restraining order was issued and there would be no bail for the restraining order. The husband or whoever had the restraining order against them would go to a hotel for a few days and then they would go to court and hopefully everything would work out at that point or it would go to a trial and the final restraining order would be issued.

Can A Judge Order Anger Management Classes Before The Trial? How Does That Differ From Domestic Abuse Counseling?

This frequently happens during the criminal aspect of the case in the criminal courts, and very often, the parties would decide that the domestic violence restraining order was what this case was really about, whether they chose to dismiss it or proceed with it. They would have had one long trial and people would usually not want to go through a second go-around with that, so they would normally tell the prosecutor that everything was resolved. It would either be a restraining order or they would say they dismissed it or there would be civil restraints.

At that point they would suggest to just leave it like that and the criminal judge would then be in a rough position because he would not have a victim that was willing to testify. In the post Ray Rice era, judges have a lot of pressure and a lot of people would look at them if something went bad, so the criminal judge would say he could not figure out what he was going to do with this case and he would decide he wanted to see the person go to anger management.

This would not happen in the Family Court, because the case would either be resolved or there would be a trial. The judge would not get involved in issuing any sort of treatment or counseling until he decided the person was to be restrained under the Domestic Violence Act.

Would It Help The Case If The Person Voluntarily Went For Some Kind Of Counseling?

In 99% of cases, I would prefer for the person to go for counseling by themselves, before they were told to go, because it would show they were taking control, they understood something went wrong and there was a desire to do something about it, not because someone had ordered them to do it, but because they knew they had to do it. That would be much more powerful for an advocate and I would feel like I had a much better case if I was able to put that on the record.

When Would An Emergency Removal From The Home In A Domestic Violence Situation Typically Occur?

It would always be considered an emergency removal, because if the judge issued a temporary restraining order then it would come into effect immediately, meaning the person would have to leave right then. One of the aspects of being a Municipal Court judge would be that the judges would realize that it was important but they would also wish they did not have to do this.

Judges could get a call at 3:30 in the morning on a Tuesday night and they would have to pick up the phone to issue that restraining order if they were on duty. It would always go into immediate effect. If the judge kept getting woken by a certain police officer, then he would not be very happy with him, especially if it was not for something important. That would probably put a safety valve on the process because the officer would have to hear about it if they kept coming up with very insignificant reasons to wake the judge up at night.

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