Articles Posted in Abuse Prevention Orders

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.