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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    4

    Default Does a Restraining Order Apply Across State Lines

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Maryland/Pennsylvania

    Here is the problem. Kind of a long story. I live in Towson, Maryland. I was engaged for about 8 months a few years ago but in April, 2008, broke off the engagement. My ex fiance then started stalking and harrassing me. She'd make harrassing phone calls to me, send me letters and emails, and hang around in the parking lot pf my condo waiting for me to leave and come home. She scared away the next woman I was dating by following us. I went to the police several times and in October of 2009 she was arrested for phone harrassment and tresspassing. She was sentenced to a year probation and I also got a permenant restraining order against her. This past May, she violated the restraining order and served 5 days in the Baltimore County Jail. After she got out, she moved an hour and a half away to Pennsylvania. She started emailing me and calling me again, and just the other day, when I was in Pennsylvania, she approached me in a restaurant parking lot. I tried to reason with her and said, "Do you want to go back to jail?" Her response was, "The judge who issued the restraining order is a Maryland Judge. We are in Pennsylvania now. He has no authority to tell me what to do in Pennsylvania." Is this true? Does this mean I now have to file for a restraining order in Pennsylvania as well? I would think that one state would enforce a restraining order issued in a neighboring state? How does this work? I need advice. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Does a Restraining Order Apply Across State Lines

    Fortunately for you, she's dead wrong. Next time, call the police, who will find the order, and act accordingly.

    Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (which DOES apply to men who are victims, too), jurisdictions must give full faith and credit to valid orders of protection. Full faith and credit is a legal term that means that jurisdictions must honor and enforce orders issued by courts in other jurisdictions.

    For the order of protection to be valid, it must meet the following conditions:

    The court that issued the order must have had personal jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and, the respondent must have had notice and an opportunity to be heard.

    Full faith and credit requires the justice system to enforce orders of protection throughout the country. Additionally, if a person with an order against them travels across state or tribal lines and violates a protection order (like showing up at your vacation in Florida), they CAN be punished under the laws of the jurisdiction where the violation occurred and may ALSO be charged with federal crimes.

    You can also find more specific info from the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit:

    http://www.bwjp.org/full_faith_and_credit.aspx
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

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