Monday, February 15, 2010
Why Restraining Orders Are Worthless In Stalking Cases
Orange County, FL-- Brevard County Circuit Court Judge Dean Moxley refused to issue a restraining order requested by a former Hooter’s waitress, Alissa Blanton, who had recently married. The judge felt that the petition was inadequate and ordered a hearing while declining the temporary order.
A 61 year-old stalker, Roger Troy shot the 23 year-old woman to death in her new employer’s parking lot. Troy took his own life immediately afterwards.
Now many people want to blame Judge Moxley for the woman’s murder. The blame is wrongly assigned here.
I have personally served thousands of restraining orders in similar situations. Despite serving the documents several people I served assaulted and even murdered the court protected victims. In one case I heard the gunshot as I served one man. He put a gun to his head seconds after I brought him the order.
Women’s rights groups demanded and got laws for restraining orders and to combat stalkers. These cases involve disturbed people who are in both real and imagined relationships. The key element here is disturbed people. By definition disturbed people are not rational and can be dangerous. The restraining orders are useless and prevent nothing.
The victims of stalkers are not always blameless. Some “victims” enable and even taunt their abusers bringing the violence on themselves. The mentally ill are victimizing the mentally ill.
There is a huge amount of abuse by people using the restraining order process to victimize the innocent.
Victims of real stalkers need to recognize when the problem is beyond the ability of the police and courts to protect them. Self help and sometimes relocating may be the only way to survive.
I have learned that when a stalker is beyond embarrassment he or she is really dangerous. Thankfully people on the edge don’t want their families, friends or employers to know about their behavior. Those people will stop with the mere threat of exposure.
We live in a free society and can’t deprive others of liberty because of fears of what they might do in the future. Victims need to report the conduct to police. Then they need to examine self-help solutions including obtaining firearms and the training to use them. Restraining orders are only made of flimsy paper. Law-abiding people behave without them. Dangerous people are never less dangerous because of restraining orders. Police rarely catch stalkers in the act enabling arrest. Our safety is ours, not the government’s responsibility.
Judge Moxly should not be a scapegoat for an unworkable program. Had he granted the order the result would have been the same.