Articles Posted in Abuse Prevention Orders

On Tuesday, July 10 at 10:15 at night Attorney Robert Lewin was sitting at his desk and an email inquiry came into his inbox. It was a gentleman from Georgetown, MA who had to go to Haverhill District Court on Friday, July 13. The gentleman (whom we shall call SC) had been served with an Abuse Prevention Order that his former live-in girlfriend had taken out against him and it was scheduled for a hearing three days later. Attorney Lewin read the email and called SC at 10:30 that night. SC was floored that a lawyer would call him at 10:30 pm. SC and Attorney Lewin talked for about 1 hour. SC emailed Attorney Lewin paperwork. The next morning SC retained Attorney Lewin and Attorney Lewin went to work on the case. There was little time and much to do. Attorney Lewin obtained copies of the papers from the Haverhill District Court and on Wednesday afternoon spent two hours on the phone with SC going over all the evidence. On Thursday afternoon SC emailed Attorney Lewin a series of text messages that his ex-girlfriend had sent him. The ex was claiming that SC was a drunkard and was acting belligerently toward her and that their relationship had broken up in December 2017. She claimed that when he drank he was violent and she was afraid that he would hurt her. She claimed that they had not been intimate since December 2017.

On Friday, July 13, 2018 SC and Attorney Lewin and the ex-girlfriend and her lawyer appeared at Court. The case was called and the ex-girlfriend took the stand and began to tell her story to the Judge and even cried at one point. The Judge interrupted the girlfriend and was prepared to issue an order and Attorney Lewin demanded that there be a full hearing and that the Judge hear all the evidence. The Judge said fine, proceed with the hearing. The girlfriend testified that since early June she was afraid of SC. Attorney Lewin asked her if in late June she had sent SC a text offering to perform oral sex on SC if he would bring her home an iced coffee. She said she could not remember. Attorney Lewin presented her with her text message and asked her if she had sent it. She said yes. Attorney Lewin then asked her to read the text message to the Judge – she looked at the Judge and the Judge said read the message. She then read the message wherein she offered to give SC a blow job if he would bring her home an iced coffee. There was much more evidence that Attorney Lewin had, but the Judge intervened again and this time said that she could not issue an order. The Judge said that in order to issue an order the ex-girlfriend had the burden to prove that she had a reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm from SC. The Judge said she could not make that finding in light of the evidence that Attorney Lewin had presented.

SC and Attorney Lewin left the Courtroom. SC was thrilled with the result – a result that Attorney Lewin had predicted to SC prior to the hearing. SC then turned to Attorney Lewin and thanked him and told Attorney Lewin that he would have paid Attorney Lewin twice what Attorney Lewin had charged him!

CX, a 29 year old male consultant, and his former girlfriend, BH, had an up and down relationship. Unfortunately CX had a very short fuse and a very long temper and was prone to very angry outbursts against BH. Unfortunately for CX, he would communicate his outbursts against BH via text messages. CX and BH had previously lived in NY State and BH had obtained an Abuse Prevention Order against CX in NY. They both then moved to Massachusetts. Neither CX nor BH believed that the NY Order was effective in Massachusetts. That was their first mistake. Massachusetts, as does most states, has a law that makes an out of state abuse prevention order enforceable in Massachusetts as if it were an order from a Massachusetts Court.

After they moved from NY to MA they broke up and CX began seeing some other women. On or about April 23, 2018 CX learned through a text message from BH that BH had spoken with another man. CX went ballistic and went on a text rant. CX texted to BH’s Mother: “If you care about your daughter, have her call me now. Right f___ing now.” CX then texted BH directly “F__you. F___you. F___you. F___you. F___you. F___you. F___you. You F___ing idiot. Why did you write me that text. Did you mean to do that or not. You know the consequence. You know I have learned over time and will not make the same mistake twice.”

BH and her Mother went to the police and showed the text messages to the police. The police filed an Application for a Criminal Complaint against CX for Violation of the NY Abuse Prevention Order in Haverhill District Court. The Application was set up for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on May 31, 2018.

From January 2013 to May 2013 JA, a then 29 year old Hispanic male from Lawrence was in a relationship with DO, a 28 year old Hispanic woman also from Lawrence. The both worked in the same factory. In May 2013 they broke up when JA took a trip to the Dominican Republic. After the breakup they continued working in the same factory and DO wanted JA back. She would send him texts and then she started sending JA nude and very sexual pictures of herself. She would give JA notes at work. He had moved on and was with another woman and he rebuffed all her advances. DO herself was in a relationship with another man and was living with this other man but was still trying to get JA back. In 2018 DO complained at work that JA was harassing her and JA got fired. JA then took all the pictures and notes that DO had sent to JA and sent them to DO’s boyfriend. DO went to Lawrence District Court and applied for an Abuse Prevention Order against JA. JA was served with the temporary order and a hearing was set for May 1, 2018 in Lawrence District Court.

JA met with and hired Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. With the assistance of a translator JA was able to give Attorney Lewin all the facts of the case. JA and Attorney Lewin had two lengthy sessions where Attorney Lewin prepared JA to testify at the hearing. In addition, JA was able to obtain and bring to Attorney Lewin his phone and text records that showed all the calls and texts that DO had sent to JA. The case was fully prepared.

On May 1, 2018 JA and Attorney Lewin appeared in the Restraining Order session at Lawrence District Court. DO was there. DO testified and JA testified. Attorney Lewin showed the Judge all the nude pictures and text messages that DO had sent to JA from 2013 to 2018. There was NO believeable evidence that JA had placed DO in fear of imminent serious physical harm. That is the basis on which DO was seeking an order against JA. At the end of the hearing the Judge ruled in JA’s favor and denied DO’s request for a restraining order.

DB, a 46 year old repairman, went through a bitter divorce several years ago. His former wife has a history of making false accusations about DB. On Friday, March 23, 2018 DB received a Notice from the Newburyport District Court that the Rowley Police had filed an application for a criminal complaint against DB alleging that DB had violated a 209A Abuse Prevention Order. The Notice told DB that a hearing would be held at the Newburyport District Court on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 to determine whether a criminal complaint would be issued against DB. Late in the afternoon on Monday, March 26, DB found and hired Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. On Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Attorney Lewin obtained a copy of the police report and spent the better part of the day and  night preparing the case. The police report alleged that the Abuse Prevention Order required – among other things – that DB not go into the Market Basket store in Rowley. The police report indicated that a witness who knew DB for 25 years saw DB in the store on March 5, 2018 and reported it to the police the next day on March 6, 2018. DB was able to secure his cell phone records which showed that on March 5, 2018 DB’s cell phone pinged on towers in Douglas, MA before and after the time he was allegedly in the Market Basket store in Rowley. It is over 80 miles from Douglas to Rowley. In addition, DB and his current wife had a post office receipt showing that they were in the Post Office in Douglas, MA shortly before he was allegedly in Rowley. In one day and evening Attorney Lewin and DB put together all the documentary evidence. On March 28, 2018 Attorney Lewin met DB and his current wife at the Courthouse 1 hour before the hearing. Attorney Lewin sat with DB and his wife and went over their testimony in detail. Attorney Lewin gave them strict instructions about how to behave in the hearing room and he instructed them on how to be a good convincing witness. It was clear to Attorney Lewin that DB was innocent.

Finally – after waiting 1 1/2 hours DB’s case was called in. The Clerk-Magistrate explained that this was a show-cause hearing and the Clerk-Magistrate did not decide whether or not DB was guilty but merely whether there was “probable cause” to issue the complaint. The police prosecutor read the report. Attorney Lewin had DB and his wife testify and the phone records were put into evidence.

Attorney Lewin then advocated to the Magistrate that DB’s testimony and his current wife’s testimony was very believable particularly given the phone records and the receipt from the Post Office. In addition Attorney Lewin presented to the Judge a google maps printout showing where Douglas, MA is and how far it is from Rowley.

MT, a woman in her mid sixties, lived in a single family house in Andover with her husband. Immediately adjacent to MT’s property lived a family in another single family house. MT had issues. MT did not like certain things that her next door neighbors did in their yard. When the neighbors would come outside MT would go out into her yard and stare at the neighbors. Then MT began shouting obscenities at the neighbors (in the presence of the neighbor’s minor children). The neighbors began to keep a diary of the incidents and finally in October of 2016 went to Lawrence District Court and both the husband and wife were granted Harassment Prevention Orders against MT. The orders were to expire on October 24, 2017. In December of 2016 MT  saw her neighbor in the yard; MT went outside into her yard and walked over to the property line and began to stare at the neighbor. The neighbor got out his camera and began to film MT. The neighbor then went into his house and called the police. The police came and arrested MT and charged her with violating the Harassment Prevention Order. MT went to court and was placed on probation for violating the order. As the one year anniversary date of the order approached MT contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover, MA to fight the extension of the order. Attorney Lewin told MT that where she had plead guilty to violating the order and where she was on probation for violating the order that it would be an uphill fight to get the order vacated.

The law with reference to extending these Harassment Prevention Orders is that the plaintiff (the person seeking to have the order extended) has the burden of proving that there is still a need for the order – that is that there is still a reasonable fear of the plaintiff being harassed – at the time the extension is sought. The law is identical with reference to extension of Abuse Prevention Orders as well.

Attorney Lewin thoroughly prepared MT to testify in court and Attorney Lewin prepared a written legal memorandum for the judge setting out in particular that the plaintiffs (MT’s neighbors) had the burden of proving that they still had a reasonable fear of being harassed by MT. On October 24, 2017, after a full hearing at which both sides testified, the judge in Lawrence District Court ruled in MT’s favor and refused to grant an extension of the order.

Introduction to this case summary and a personal note from Attorney Robert Lewin: Attorney Robert Lewin became a lawyer in 1971. Forty years earlier in 1931 Attorney Robert Lewin’s father, Henry Lewin, became a lawyer. Henry Lewin practiced law until his death in 1987. One of the many lessons that father imparted to son was that a case well prepared was ninety percent won. Attorney Robert Lewin has made it his mission to ALWAYS be prepared when he walks into the courtroom. In addition, Attorney Robert Lewin always makes sure that the client is fully prepared for what lies ahead with their case. The case of DL which follows is an example of a case being won before trial by thorough preparation and by a lawyer and a client working closely together to get a desired result.

DL, a 37 year old male acupuncturist from Methuen, was in a relationship with a 41 year old male accountant from Waltham. The relationship turned stormy and a torrent of emails and texts were exchanged between the two men. The accountant, who had a flair for embellishment, went to Waltham District Court and applied for an Abuse Prevention Order against DL. The Judge in Waltham, based on the affidavit written by the accountant, granted the accountant an ex parte order. An ex parte order is an order that is granted without any notice being given to the other side. The order was faxed to the Methuen Police. The police then served the order on DL. Later in the day that the order was served on DL, DL went to the Methuen Police Department to show them messages that had been sent by the accountant to DL. DL left the police station with his phone in his pocket. Several hours later the Methuen Police went to DL’s home and arrested him for three counts of violating the Abuse Prevention Order.

According to the police report from the Waltham Police shortly after DL was served with the Abuse Prevention Order a call was sent from DL’s iPhone to his ex-boyfriend’s phone. Also according to the police report there was a text allegedly sent by DL to the ex-boyfriend from a phone number that the ex-boyfriend claimed that DL used. Lastly according to the police report there was a telephone call allegedly from from DL’s phone to the ex-boyfriend’s phone.

JO, a stunning 30 year old female Argentinian national living in Florida, began a relationship with a man in the summer of 2014. They met through a mutual friend on Facebook. The relationship had its ups and downs. It was on and then off and then on again. This continued for over two years. His use of drugs was a constant problem in the relationship. Finally in October of 2016 they broke up (but every now and then thereafter they get together for sex). I guess you could call them ex-lovers with benefits. In any event, after the breakup a long pattern of alleged harassment begins. The ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend allege that JO has made numerous false, defamatory, and inflammatory postings on Facebook (including the posting of pictures of the new girlfriend’s minor daughter). In addition they allege that JO has made repeated telephone calls to them at all hours of the night. Finally, the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend (both of whom are now living in Lynn, MA) go to Lynn District Court and apply for orders against JO. The ex-boyfriend seeks an Abuse Prevention Order and the new girlfriend seeks an Harassment Prevention Order against JO. From Florida JO finds and hires Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover to represent her in Lynn Court. Attorney Lewin explained to JO that in order to maximize her chances of winning the two restraining order cases that JO would have to come to Massachusetts for the Court hearing. JO – via email – sent to Attorney Lewin a great deal of emails between JO and the ex-boyfriend that show that he is lying. In addition JO furnished to Attorney Lewin all her phone records to show that she did not make the calls that they were referring to. In addition Attorney Lewin was able to get the ex-boyfriend’s phone records which records cast doubt on his claims.

Attorney Lewin thoroughly prepared  JO for the hearing and for testifying in front of the Judge. Attorney Lewin explained to JO that there is one Judge in Lynn District Court who does most of the Restraining Order cases and she has a very very short fuse. When this Judge asks a question she wants a specific answer to the question – not a speech. If you give her a speech this Judge will shut you down.

On August 23, 2017, JO and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lynn District Court. The ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend were present as well. When the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend began to make speeches in front of the Judge, the Judge cut them off and sternly warned them to answer her questions directly – not with speeches.

On October 16, 2016, NU, a 31 year old technician from Lowell was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on his ex girlfriend. He was held overnight and on October 17, 2016 he was brought to Lowell District Court to be arraigned. He was arraigned on the Assault & Battery charge. His ex girlfriend was present and had applied for an Abuse Prevention Order (Restraining Order). The Court conducted a hearing and granted the Abuse Prevention Order. The order, among other things, ordered NU to have no contact, directly or indirectly, “in person, by telephone, in writing, electronically or otherwise” with his former girl friend. NU and his former girl friend had been fighting over custody of a dog.

On October 20, 2016 NU and his attorney (not Attorney Lewin) were having a telephone conversation. The attorney asked NU for NU’s former girlfriend’s telephone number. NU went to his iPhone, went into his text messages, got the last text message from his ex-girlfriend, hit the detail button, then hit the i (information) button on the screen to get her phone number. NU then read the phone number to his attorney. NU then put the phone up to his cheek and continued his phone conversation with his lawyer. When NU finished the phone conversation the screen on his iPhone reverted to the text message screen and NU saw that a location ping had been sent to his ex-girlfriend. This apparently happened when NU put the phone up to his cheek. This was a “cheek” call, similar to a butt call. Within ten minutes the police were at NU’s house and he was arrested for violating the abuse prevention order.

NU and his family retained the same lawyer. NU and his family became dissatisfied with the work that the lawyer was doing on the two cases (the original Assault & Battery charge and now the Violation of the Abuse Prevention Order charge) and sought out another lawyer. NU met with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover for a free 2 hour initial consultation. NU and his family retained Attorney Lewin to handle both cases.

VV, a 44 year old male immigrant from El Salvador, was in the US on a temporary work visa. In 2009 he married and shortly after getting married he bought a three family house in Lynn, MA and began the task of updating the house himself. He finished the first floor apartment and rented it out. He finished the second floor apartment and he and his wife and his wife’s son (from a prior relationship) moved into the second floor. He finished the third floor and his wife told him that she wanted him out of the house. When he refused to leave she went to Lynn District Court and applied for an abuse prevention order against him. She claimed that he had hit her. VV went into court and fought the order. After a full hearing the Judge granted the wife an abuse prevention order for one year. Thereafter, the wife reported to the police that VV had violated the order by going to the house and collecting the rent from the first floor tenants. A hearing was set up to determine whether VV would be charged criminally with violating the order. At that hearing the tenants came into court and testified that VV had not been to the house and had not collected the rent from them. The application for criminal complaint against VV was denied.

On September 4, 2013 the abuse prevention order came up for renewal hearing. On September 3, 2013 VV hired Attorney Robert Lewin to represent him at the renewal hearing. Working until 1:30 in the morning Attorney Lewin put together a memorandum for the Judge arguing that it was demonstrably true that VV’s wife lied under oath in Court. Attorney Lewin told VV to make sure the tenants came to court for the renewal hearing. On September 4, 2013 Attorney Lewin and VV appeared in Lynn District Court. VV’s wife was present. Attorney Lewin filed a notice of potential self incrimination. That was a notice to the Judge that if VV’s wife testified she could incriminate herself in the crimes of filing a false police report and perjury. VV’s wife went ahead and testified. Attorney Lewin cross examined her. VV testified and was a good witness for himself. At the end of the testimony it was clear that VV’s wife was not a credible witness. The Judge denied VV’s wife request to extend the order. The Judge wrote the following: “After two party hearing there is insufficient evidence to extend the order and the prior court order is terminated”.

With only 24 hours to prepare the case, Attorney Lewin did the work that had to be done and possessed the skill and knowledge to put together a winning case. As VV and Attorney Lewin were leaving the Lynn District Court VV turned to Attorney Lewin and said “God bless you Mr. Lewin!”; it just doesn’t get any better.

In 2006 RG and KM began a dating relationship. They moved in together and then bought a home together. Eventually the relationship soured and one night in February 2010 they had a huge argument. The next day KM went to Lowell District Court and obtained an abuse prevention order against RG. At the full court hearing two weeks later the order was extended for one year. In February 2011 the order was extended for an additional year. In February 2012 RG decided he wanted to challenge the extension of the order. RG retained Attorney Robert Lewin. On the one year hearing date all the parties appeared in Court. At that time RG and KM were still involved in a civil lawsuit over the proceeds from the sale of the house. The Judge at the hearing expressed concern that the civil lawsuit could provide a flahpoint and a point of contact between the parties. It was anticipated that the civil lawsuit would be finished by June 2012. The Judge extended the abuse prevention order to a date in June 2012. On that date all the parties appeared again in court. The civil lawsuit was still not finished. The Judge again extended the order until December 4, 2012. On December 4, 2012 all the parties again appeared in Court. The civil lawsuit between the parties was completely finished. Attorney Lewin had prepared a lengthy memorandum of the facts and the law in the abuse prevention order case. He pointed out that the relationship had ended in February 2010 – 2 years and 10 months earlier and that there had been no contact between the parties since that time and no violations of the order. When a party seeks to extend an abuse prevention order the burden of proof is on that party to prove that at the time of extension hearing the party still has a reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm. It is not enough to prove that at the time the order was originally granted the party had a reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm. The party must prove that there is a continuing need for the order. There is no presumption in the law in favor of extending these orders. Attorney Lewin’s Memorandum of Law cited all the appropriate cases for the Judge. On December 4, 2012 all the parties appeared before the Judge in Lowell District Court. The Judge reviewed the Court papers and read Attorney Lewin’s Memorandum. The Judge turned to KM and asked her if she was seeking to extend the order for another year. To everyone’s surprise KM said “No, your honor.” Even KM had come to the realization that after 2 years and 10 months of absolutely no contact with RG that any fear she had would not be deemed reasonable. The order was vacated. Had RG not persisted in fighting the extensions of the order and had he not been willing to return to court on two additional occasions the order probably would have been made permanent. To win you have to be persistent and you have to be willing to fight for what is right.