Need for non-violent orders?

July 23, 2008
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On Tuesday, tragedy struck in Indianapolis when a man allegedly murdered two people – his ex-wife and her boyfriend – and then reportedly turned the gun on himself. The man had a history of violence, according to police and news reports, and the ex-wife had a non-violent contact order against her ex-husband for past threats and violent action toward her, including the threat he would kill her and himself.

However, don’t all people essentially have a non-violent contact order for each other as part of a civilized society that seeks to punish those who hurt others unnecessarily? And legally, are these court orders even in line with Indiana Code 34-26-5, the Indiana Civil Protective Order Statute?

The legal director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence raises these issues, adding the ICADV, along with attorneys at Baker & Daniels working pro bono, filed a notice of appeal for two such orders on Tuesday.

Considering the non-violent contact order didn’t prevent violence against a woman who had the foresight to file for a protective order, it could be said that it didn’t do anything, or at least it didn’t do enough to protect her this time. Some may also argue that all protective orders are just a piece of paper anyway, or may claim there are instances when people abuse the system when they file such orders without enough proof of an abusive or threatening situation.

But why would judges issue these so-called non-violent orders in at least two counties in Indiana – Marion and Lake? Is there a need to have the option of non-violent contact orders for certain circumstances, or not? We hope to get answers to these questions for a future article, and as always, welcome input from the legal community. Post comments about this issue here, or send an e-mail to rberfanger@ibj.com.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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