Articles Posted in Abuse Prevention Orders

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.