Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Restraining Orders and the Legal System

We have all seen the news lately about former congressional candidate Janice A. Jones. She is being stalked by a republican rival. The man most likely is mentally disturbed. He was arrested for cutting the tires on Jones’ car and that of her husband. The police arrested Mr. Smith because the Jones could afford to put up cameras to prove it was Mr. Smith who was damaging their property. Even after Mr. Smith was released on bail the Jones contend that he returned to their home in violation of the terms of his release. The police are filing yet another arrest warrant today in the hopes of put him back in jail.

Most of the voting public is not so lucky as to have the support of the police and the mayor when it comes to stalking cases. The police refuse to enforce civil restraining orders. A victim must use their own funds to force any legal issues because the police are unwilling to file arrest warrants. The police often inform the victim that until the stalker harms them nothing will be done. Without money for cameras it is often difficult if not impossible to prove that you are being stalked by a mentally ill individual. They are not likely to admit their crimes. We have seen cases right here in Albuquerque that have led to the death of the stalking victims. Victims are often stalked for years.

Clearly Mrs. Jones high profile image has helped her in forcing the police into action. Funny that she wrote the laws in this state along with the rest of state legislators in Santa Fe. They recently change those laws limiting the number of people who could get help from domestic violence laws. Judges who are not trained in the problems of people are now being forced to handout advice and restraining orders to victims of stalking and harassment. Most judges will tell victims to not even ask for a restraining order since it will not even slow the person down who is stalking you. In many cases it will only give a stalker more information about where you live and work.

After this last year we can only hope that this legislative session starting later this month in Santa Fe will force lawmakers into finding ways to get the mentally ill treatment. Maybe they could also look at strengthen stalking laws and restraining orders since they are basically useless in this state. Maybe we should ask lawmakers just who has to die before those issues are dealt with in this state.