March 16, 2009
Fathers & Families‘ Dr. Ned Holstein discussed a bill regarding domestic violence restraining orders on The Ron Smith Show on WBAL AM 1090 in Baltimore on Wednesday.
A recent vote in the Maryland House of Delegates upheld by a narrow margin a law that keeps recipients of Temporary Restraining Orders in a computer registry even though a judge has dismissed or denied the TRO.
Holstein explained the effects of the law–people who had been cleared are being denied jobs and/or housing because they’re being kept in the computer registry.
From the Baltimore Sun’s Delegate shares personal story of domestic abuse (3/11/09):
Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat and trial attorney, sponsored the bill.
He said that when temporary protective orders, which judge’s grant after hearing only from the accuser, don’t materialize as final orders, it is only fair to wipe away the public record of the court hearings.
“The question before the House is: Innocent until proven guilty – do we believe in it?” Simmons said.
Simmons argued that the civil orders are “the equivalent of criminal records” and can be viewed by potential employers and landlords. Even if removed from public view, Simmons said, police officers and courts would have maintained access to the records. He said it was time for lawmakers to address the problem of false accusations of domestic violence.
Of the more than 17,000 temporary protective orders granted last year in Maryland, about 9,000 were made final, said Del. Joseph F. Vallario, a Democrat representing Calvert and Prince George’s counties and a proponent of Simmons’ bill.
Simmons was 100% correct but the delegates were apparently swayed by Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn’s emotional appeal based on abuse she claimed she suffered at the hands of her deceased husband 30 years ago.
For additional information on the Bill, see the Washington Post’s Md. Domestic Violence Bill Splits Female Lawmakers (3/15/09). Notice how the article focuses on female legislators’ apparent hesitance to break with their feminist sisters, as opposed to recognizing the appalling number of innocent men who are victimized by the current restraining order system.