Civil defense of an Order of Protection case study of a client who was accused of stalking and threatening the mother of his children and former girlfriend in Nashville.
If granted, our client would have been completely at the mercy of his ex-girlfriend if he ever wanted to see his children. More than likely, the ex-girlfriend would have him arrested even if he did not try to see his children. Our client was completely innocent of the accusations against him, and the mother of his children had a history of blatantly lying to police in order to get our client arrested.
The penalties for an Order of Protection are numerous, but the most important one for our purposes is that it is much easier to put someone in jail while they are under an Order of Protection. All you need to do is tell police they violated the Order of Protection and the person under the order will be immediately arrested without a warrant. For our client, this meant she could use this to keep him from his children, because she would threaten to call the police if he wanted to see them.
We absolutely had to have the Order of Protection dismissed. Without the dismissal, our client’s ex-girlfriend would have most certainly used the Order of Protection to control our client. Our client really needed more than a dismissal. He needed protection from his ex to ensure this type of incident wouldn’t repeat in the future, so our secondary goal was to get an order of protection against HER.
The plan for getting the ex-girlfriend’s Order of Protection petition dismissed was simple; we needed to show that the ex-girlfriend is a habitual and malicious liar. The plan for getting our Order of Protection granted was a bit harder; we needed to show how the ex-girlfriend was directly or indirectly responsible for our client getting shot. We also knew the more of our client’s details we could get the judge to listen to, the better our odds of success would be. With that in mind, when we filed an Order of Protection for him, we made sure that they would be heard at the same time.
Her case for an Order of Protection centered on allegations that occurred in March and May 2020. The March incident involved police coming to our client’s home after the Petitioner called them on him and his current girlfriend. She accused our client and his girlfriend of kidnapping and domestic “issues.” There was a police report and the number was provided in her petition.
The May incident actually involved our client getting shot on the Petitioner’s property. She claimed she was in fear that our client would retaliate, which is of course a ridiculous reason to seek an Order of Protection against him, and it’s a pretty good one for him to get one against her. However, her new boyfriend is the one who shot our client, not the Petitioner. This presented an issue both for us attacking her petition and for us supporting ours.
We broke through when it became clear that when she called police on our client in March, she was completely lying. We dug up the incident report and were able to show from the documents that her call was treated as a false alarm, no arrest was made, and she was asked to leave. The Court actually found that this was a pattern of behavior for her, and that repeatedly calling the police on our client, a Black man, was intentionally creating a dangerous situation for him and posed a threat of violence.
As for the breakthrough on our case against her for the May incident, we were able to show through 911 calls that she had a gun in her car at the time our client was shot, and, based on her testimony on cross-examination, the Court found that she most likely provided her boyfriend with the gun used to shoot our client. After answering “yes” to my question of whether the bullet dug out of our client’s leg would match the bullets in her gun, she testified that she and her boyfriend who shot our client had purchased the same gun at the same time. Of course, that would not necessarily mean that the bullets would be the same, which she had already testified to. The Court found her absolutely not credible and a threat to our client.
Client’s sense of safety restored and he can see his children without any fear. The ex-girlfriend’s Order of Protection was dismissed, our client’s Order of Protection was granted, and our client’s attorney fees were ordered to be paid by the ex-girlfriend.
THE STAKES: If granted, our client would have been completely at the mercy of his ex-girlfriend if he ever wanted to see his children.
THE GOAL: Our client also needed and wanted an Order of Protection against her, so we filed an order of protection for him and had them heard at the same time.
THE CHARGES:ORDER OF PROTECTION
CHARGE CLASSIFICATIONS: Civil
RELEVANT LAWS FOR CHARGE:T.C.A. § 36-3-602
OUTCOME RESULT:The father’s sense of safety is restored and he can see his children without any fear of false allegations being made by the mother. We got the Protection Order against him dismissed & won our cross petition (competing Order of Protection) against the ex-girlfriend/mother.