Recently, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill allowing judges (both current and former) to request emergency protective orders when they are being threatened. The bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House. According to the New Jersey Globe, the emergency protective order would “bar defendants from returning to the scene of a crime or contacting in any way the judge, the judge's friends, co-workers and relatives.” They would also limit the ability of defendants to possess any guns or purchase new ones. Finally, the bill also upgrades harassment to a fourth-degree crime. Breaking the protective order also constitutes a fourth-degree crime. An individual charged with a fourth-degree crime could face fines of no more than $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison.
The bill comes nearly a year after Governor Murphy signed Daniel’s Law into legislation, a bill designed to protect judges' personal information. The bill was named after Daniel Anderl, son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, who was shot by “Roy Den Hollander, a self-described “anti-feminist lawyer” who had a case before Salas involving a woman who wanted to register for the men-only military draft.”
A similar piece of legislation came to the federal judiciary in mid-July. Alyson Jones, the New Jersey Judiciary's liaison to the legislature, spoke on behalf of the bill. “She highlighted the growing number of threats the state's judges received each month. That trend also exists on the federal level. Salas had been targeted by threats before the attempt on her life.” There was an attempt to pass a similar bill in December 2020, however, Congress went on recess before they passed the legislation.
Will This Impact Your Ability to Seek a Restraining Order?
Although it might seem like this could impact your ability to seek a restraining order in New Jersey, the fact is that it does not. What the state bill does is allow judges to seek protective orders in order to keep them safe.
In New Jersey, there are two types of restraining orders that an individual might seek. A temporary restraining order (TRO) and a final restraining order (FRO).
A TRO is temporary protection from a plaintiff and prohibits contact or even proximity within a certain distance. An FRO hearing usually occurs within ten days of the TRO hearing. It is a final and permanent decree and requires a preponderance of the evidence, which is a higher standard than the TRO hearing.
Expert Attorney Assistance in New Jersey
If you or a loved one is seeking a restraining order, it can be a scary time, especially if the motivation includes domestic violence. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the process of filing for a temporary restraining order and prepare you for the final restraining order hearing. Call Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online.