Articles Posted in Harassment Prevention Orders

On July 22, 2014 AA, a 35 year old banker living in Somerville, was served with an Harassment Prevention Order that had been taken out by one of his roommates. The Somerville Police served the order at about 6:00 PM and instructed AA that he was to have no verbal contact with his roommate. At about 7:00 PM that same night AA was at home and his roommate came into the apartment. The roommate claimed that AA said to him “What’s with the restraining order?” The roommate called 911; the police responded; AA denied saying anything to the roommate. The police arrested AA and charged him with violating the order. AA retained Attorney Robert Lewin.
Attorney Lewin spoke with the DA’s Office. Ever since the Jared Remy case the Middlesex County DA’s Office has taken a hard line on all “domestic abuse” cases and they refuse to dismiss them. AA had a fear of trial and was extremely reluctant to try the case. Attorney Lewin encouraged AA to take the case to trial as Attorney Lewin felt it would be extremely difficult for the Commonwealth to get a conviction given the lack of any corroboration of the roommate’s claim.On September 12, 2014, at the pre-trial hearing the DA’s Office refused to dismiss the case. The case was set down for trial on November 4, 2014. In the week before November 4, 2014 Attorney Lewin and AA and a witness met twice to prepare the case for trial. AA was fully prepared to testify and he was fully prepared for cross examination. On November 4, 2014 AA and his witness and Attorney Lewin appeared at court and answered ready for trial when the case was called. The DA’s Office had to answer that they were not ready for trial as their witness (the roommate) had failed to appear. Attorney Lewin moved to dismiss the case and the judge ordered the case dismissed for lack of prosecution. The lesson in this is don’t be afraid to go to trial when you have a good case.

LL, age 63, lives with his wife in a small, but pretty home in Methuen. EF and his girlfriend AW live next door in a similar small, but pretty home. From July 2011 to May 2012 disputes arose between LL and his neighbors. In particular, LL found it upsetting that EF would park his truck and boat trailer in the area partially in front of LL’s house. LL allegedly made threats to flatten the tires of his neighbors’ vehicles and allegedly made other threats and harsh and objectionable comments against the neighbors. In July 2012 EF and AW went to Lawrence District Court and each obtained an harassment prevention order against LL. The orders were good for one year. The orders came up for an extension hearing on July 23, 2013.

LL contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin went out to LL’s house to view the neighborhood and to see the two houses. According to LL, since the orders had been entered a year earlier LL had had no contact with his neighbors. Under Massachusetts Law a party seeking to extend an harassment prevention order has the burden of proving that there is a current need for the order. (On the other hand, the fact that an existing order has not been violated is not by itself reason enough to vacate an order.) Attorney Lewin prepared LL to testify at the hearing.

On July 23, 2013 Attorney Lewin and LL and the two neighbors appeared in Courtroom 6 in Lawrence District Court. The two neighbors testified as did LL. Attorney Lewin had prepared a Memorandum of Law for the Judge and argued forcefully that the fact that the neighbors had obtained an order one year ago does not mean that they are entitled to an order today. Attorney Lewin argued that the neighbors had not produced sufficient evidence to prove that today they still needed an order. The Judge agreed and vacated both harassment prevention orders against LL.