I did an interview on the Helen Glover Show on WHJJ AM Radio 920 in Providence, Rhode Island on Friday, September 25th. The subject was the Kurt Angle case that I posted a piece about earlier. Listen to it here (WHJJ, 9/25/09).
As you recall, Angle is the heavyweight wrestler who won a gold medal for the United States at the Atlanta Games in 1996. He had a dating relationship with Trenesha Biggers for about 10 months. Eventually, she moved into his house, but the pair drifted apart emotionally. He allowed her to remain in his house, apparently because she had nowhere else to go and not much money.
Much to his surprise, she had a restraining order issued against him, without his presence in court. He was arrested for violating it less than two hours after it was issued, even though he had no knowledge of the order. He’s been exonerated on that charge.
But the major outrage is that the restraining order allows Biggers to live in Angle’s house and use his personal property for which she has apparently paid not one thin dime. Angle, by order of the court, can’t set foot on his own property. That’s been true for almost six weeks. There is to be a hearing on September 29th at which the judge will decide whether to make the temporary order permanent. It will be Angle’s first opportunity to tell his side of the story.
That was the topic of my appearance on Helen’s show. Aside from the obvious facts about restraining orders generally, another important aspect of them came up. Not only do restraining orders have the potential to violate parental rights and children’s rights to their parents, they also violate property rights. Angle’s case shows the potential for that kind of harm in no uncertain terms.
Angle’s girlfriend established her residency there solely by receiving her mail at Angle’s address. On that basis alone, he’s been removed from his own home, temporarily and maybe permanently. Angle’s case argues loudly that at the very least judges need to make inquiry into property ownership before tossing someone out on the street. If Biggers truly needed a restraining order, the judge could have prohibited him from coming near her, which, as far as I can tell from the interview Angle gave, would have been fine with him. That way, she would have been the one to vacate the house. He could have remained living there and she’d have been safe from whatever threat Angle posed, if any.
That was the thrust of my interview with Helen Glover. She was a cordial host, very open to the criticism of restraining orders that they can violate the restrained party’s property rights.