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IBA: Changes Announced Impacting Protective Order Registry

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By Kerry Hyatt Blomquist

Last month was “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” Yeah, I know—it was also “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” and while I am certainly not anti-anti breast cancer, I do at times wish the DV Movement had the PR momentum that the Breast Cancer Awareness folks do—the guy that changed my oil last month was in a pink jumpsuit for Lord’s sake.

Anyway… good things—great things—are happening in Indiana in the ongoing fight against Intimate Partner Violence. The Indiana Supreme Court recently announced that a quarter of a million dollar grant received from the US Department of Justice will be funneled into updates and modifications to Indiana’s Protective Order Registry. Starting as soon as early 2011, protective order petitioners could be notified via text or email that their orders have been served or that their orders are about to expire. This is so important because the most dangerous time for any victim of violence is when they do try to finally escape that violence. Knowing exactly when their abuser is notified is critical to their safety planning.

Another change coming down the pike: Protection Order forms will soon be available in Spanish, which of course will make the system more accessible to Spanish speaking survivors. This is an equal access to justice move that is long overdue and impossible to disagree with.

And finally, the Protective Order Registry will be accessible to advocates and other members of the public, which will allow advocates to continue to help survivors get the Orders for Protection designed to keep them safe. Best of all, those advocates can provide other resources and services to survivors at that time, be it safety planning, shelter options or counseling. And those same advocates can explain fully what can and (as importantly) CANNOT be done with a Protective Order, keeping abuse of process cases in check.

The Indiana Supreme Court and JTAC have been amazingly proactive and forward thinking in their commitment to the development of Indiana’s Protective Order Registry. This is great news for those of us on the front lines in the fight against domestic and intimate partner violence in Indiana. Next on the agenda—purple jumpsuits at Jiffy Lube next October. •
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Blomquist is Legal Director for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Co-Chair of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Legislative Committee.

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  1. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  2. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  3. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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