Remember back in 2005 when a New Mexico woman, Colleen Nestler, went to court and got a temporary restraining order against David Letterman? She claimed he was using coded language on television to harass her into marriage. Of course she didn’t know David Letterman, had never met David Letterman, didn’t live in the same state as David Letterman and David Letterman had never heard of her. The point is not that she’s a bit unhinged. The point is that, despite having no connection to Letterman at all, she was able to get a judge to issue a TRO against the late-night star based, as nearly as I can judge, on mental telepathy.
That incident served to point up one of the more egregious misuses of courts in this country – the wholesale issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders. Not only is there often little or no evidence to support them, the target of the TRO is given no opportunity to produce evidence or argue against its issuance.
Such is the case of wrestler/entrepreneur Kurt Angle. Angle lives near Pittsburgh and won fame in 1996 by winning an Olympic Gold medal for the United States at the Atlanta games. Since then, he”s parlayed his Olympic fame into great success in the ring at home. He formed a successful business promoting himself, other wrestlers, and wrestling events.
But what no wrestler in the world could do in 1996, Trenesha Biggers did with astonishing ease in August of this year; she took down Kurt Angle. And how she did it is, if anything, even more outrageous than what Nestler did to David Letterman.
According to this video of Angle, Biggers and he were a couple for about 10 months (The Pittsburgh Channel, 9/16/09). Eventually the pair started living together in Angle’s house. But he says that she continually pressured him to marry her, was “clingy” and overbearing. So he told her there would be no wedding and the two drifted apart emotionally. But Biggers remained living in Angle’s house; she received her mail there and apparently established it as her residence. (Can you see what’s coming?)
So on August 15, 2009, Angle was confronted by the police, arrested and spent nine hours in jail. His offense? He was in violation of the PFA (Protection From Abuse order) Biggers had had issued against him less than two hours before! That’s right, he had no knowledge of the PFA and had had no opportunity to tell his side of the story.
But that’s not the kicker. The kicker is that, because his house is her residence, he is prohibited by the PFA from setting foot in his own home. It’s his house; Biggers is basically insolvent and hasn’t paid a dime for it. But because of a hearing Angle had no knowledge of, concerning allegations he had no opportunity to rebut, she’s living there and he’s not permitted anywhere near the place. She’s been there for over a month.
Angle was later cleared of violating the PFA of which he was completely unaware, and also of possessing a prescription drug for which he had a prescription. Read about it here (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 9/15/09).
But here’s the final indignity. He’s set for yet another hearing on September 29th. What’s that all about? At that hearing the judge will decide whether to make the order for Angle to stay out of his own house permanent.