Domestic Violence Victim Protected after 5 Day Trial Somerset County, New Jersey
Outcome: Issuance of Final Restraining Order (FRO), Dismissal of Charges against Victim
June 2014: Mr. Abate recently obtained a Final Restraining Order under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act for a client in Somerset County Family court. The Order was obtained after a five day trial. The abuser attempted to use the legal process against Mr. Abate’s client and filed for his own restraining order as well as frivolous criminal charges against the victim in the Municipal Court. The abuser went as far as to manipulate the legal system to have the victim arrested for a violation of his TRO. It was at this point that Mr. Abate was retained. Through Mr. Abate’s advocacy, the Family Court judge recognized the facts for what they were and granted the victim a FRO at the same time dismissing the abuser’s TRO. Mr. Abate was also able to convince the Somerset County prosecutor that the TRO violation was a trumped up charge and a dismissal was given. Finally, Mr. Abate was able to have the municipal court charges against the victim dismissed. The abuser now faces criminal charges for filing false reports.
The learning point from this case study is that there is a great deal of power in the courts and that power can be manipulated. The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is intended to be a shield, but all too often is used as a sword. Mr. Abate has seen the TRO/FRO used to obtain an advantage in property rights, child custody, divorce, monetary obligations and even to bully a person to drop their charges. The family court judges are some of the most highly trained jurists, but to ensure your ordeal is told properly and that your evidence is considered you should always retain legal counsel for the family courts.
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