Violations of an Order of Protection (Part II of II)

The teeth of the order of protection is the violation

If you haven’t read Part I, please go back and do that so this part makes sense.

The prior discussion was regarding an order of protection. The teeth of the order is the violation of an order of protection. This is a criminal charge that is a class A misdemeanor(you can find out what that means by clicking this). The State will prosecute this offense.

Sometimes this is court…

The State only has to prove that there was a proper order of protection and Defendant violated that order. They don’t have to go into the underlying reasons for the order. It is assumed an order was proper at the time.

John had been arrested for a violation of an Order of Protection. John was processed and we appeared for bond court. John appeared via video because he was still several floors below me in holding. I advised the Judge of the fact that Jane was in John’s alley. The Judge set an I-Bond for John, this meant he was let out and didn’t need to post any money.

We began planning our defense. As I stated earlier, the State has to prove a violation. Jane was in John’s alley. Our argument was that she was baiting a violation. There are certain cases where you cannot accept anything short of a not guilty or a dismissal. This was one of those. I don’t like wasting my client’s time on a case so we walked into court and demanded an immediate trial. Jane was also in court.

John was accompanied by two friends on that night. We brought both of them to court. When you typically answer ready for trial, the case is passed to the end of the call. This way a Judge doesn’t make a courtroom full of people wait for hours for the case to be tried.

While we waited I showed the State the order refusing to extend the order of protection, Google maps photos blown up for the Judge to show the distance between Jane and John’s homes and told the State that this was not a winnable case. The State looked this over and read the reports before speaking to Jane.

She came back and told me “she wants to proceed.” Now, the choice of whether or not to proceed is up to the State’s Attorney. The theory is that a crime injures all of society and not just the one person. The one person may be the most important person, but the State literally represents the entire State of Illinois. That is the legal view.

The realistic view is that we all answer to someone else. I answer to my client and the Assistant State’s Attorney will answer to their boss. I remember this from experience. It takes some guts to dismiss a case. I have lived through being told, “we have to try it even if we’re going to lose it.” The reason for this is simple: the State’s Attorney answers to the people. Therefore there is always an added political element.

In John’s case we were demanding a trial or a dismissal. The only real defense I had in this case was common sense. After talking to the State and the State spoke to the Detective in charge, she called me in the back to discuss. She told me that she didn’t think the case was winnable for her, but she also didn’t want Jane to create a stink. At the end of the day, you never know how a trial will turn out, all an attorney can do is his or her best. In a normal case, this is the point where I try to be evenhanded because you don’t know if you will win or lose. Being evenhanded means trying to plea to a less charge.  This way both parties get a little of what they want.

However, most cases are not so lopsided in favor of the defense.  I knew that we could never plead guilty for the simple reason that John was not guilty. I couldn’t plead and just led with, “then let’s just try the case.” The State said she’d get back to me.

Ten minutes later, I’m preparing my witnesses for trial for the third time when the case is called. We rush back in and the Judge asks whether the witnesses are ready. The State chimes in and says the words that were weeks too late. The State said that after reviewing the evidence and discussing the matter with their witnesses, they are not proceeding on the case and they are dismissing the charge.

The Judge agreed and asked Jane if she agreed. Jane said yes. The Judge looked at John and told him to stay away from Jane. I grabbed his arm to let him know that he needs to keep his mouth shut when he’s winning.

After that we walked out and John has never seen Jane again as far as I know.

This case was rare and unique. Had we not won the order of protection hearing, we would’ve had a harder time in the criminal court.

A violation of an order of protection is a serious crime that needs solid prep work before hand. I talked about our court time, but I didn’t mention the hours and hours John and I spent discussing our strategy before we ever walked into court.

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