March 27, 2006
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, 781-956-1034,
Civil Rights Violations Widespread under Domestic Violence Laws
Rockville, MD – When CBS talk-show host David Letterman
was hit last December with a restraining order from a New
Mexico woman he had never met, people cracked jokes about
frontier justice run amok. But according to a report released
today, bogus restraining orders are far more widespread and
damaging than most persons realize.
Without Restraint: The Use and Abuse of Domestic Restraining Orders
concludes that each year, one-half million domestic restraining
orders are issued in the United States that do not involve even an
allegation of violence. Everyone knows that restraining orders and
orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply, according
to Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar
The report was issued by RADAR Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse
Reporting an organization that tracks bias in domestic violence
Mr. Letterman was accused of sending mental messages and making eye
gestures designed to lure Colleen Nestler to far-away New
York. Likewise, the RADAR report documents how restraining orders
are routinely issued on grounds such as causing emotional distress
or interference with a persons well-being.
Divorce lawyers often refer to restraining orders as silver bullets
or slam-dunks because they are so easy to obtain and effective in
winning the legal dispute.
Issued without objective proof, temporary restraining orders require
the accused to vacate the family home and restrict contact with
children. The RADAR report documents how most orders are issued
under the presumption of guilty until proven innocent.
Our nations domestic violence laws pretend that men are dangerous in
the intact family and should be immediately removed for nothing more
than a statement of fear, according to RADAR spokesman David
Usher. Due process no longer seems to apply.
The Report, which compiles information from law reviews and research
studies, also notes that 15% of restraining orders are issued
against women. The RADAR report is available at http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Restraining-Orders.pdf.
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.
- 30 -