Mike Palmer, Head
Coalition to Stop Abuse of Civil Harassment Law
18402 N 19th Ave., #109
Phoenix, AZ 85023
602-513-3738 [email protected]
The Coalition to Stop Abuse of Civil Harassment Law replies to the CIDVC's Comment.
The CIDVC says it does not agree with our petition. But does not articulate why.
You're the judges. Doesn't one have to have grounds for an objection before one can object?
Hearing no objection then, there is no reason to deny our petition.
Additionally, there can be no harm in amending the Rules of Protective Order Procedure to make it clear to judges that they do not have to issue "protective orders" (includes both criminal OOP's and civil IAH's & IAWH's) when petitions are defective/baseless.
Likewise, there can be no harm in making it clear to judges that they are not allowed to help petitioners cure defective petitions, as manifestly occurred in the example in our petition, which is the norm in these matters, as our members can attest.
In fact, only good can come from our proposed rule change, as it will serve to lessen the issuance of meritless "protective orders," which needlessly harm many innocent Arizonans.
The Coalition has observed that, for whatever reasons, judges bend over backwards to grant "protective orders." We provided a typical example in our petition of a judge contorting the rules of jurisprudence to grant a meritless petition.
As further evidence of the lengths judges will go to bend over backward to grant meritless petitions, all the Court of Appeals cases dealing with "protective orders" - few though there are - have been vacated, confirming our observation that judges hand out these things for the asking. 
Now, the Court might be thinking, "What's the big deal? What's the harm in 'playing it safe' and issuing a 'protective order'? Especially in the case of a 'mere' civil IAH or IAWH?"
Well, it should be obvious what the harm is in a criminal Order Of Protection. In addition to the immediate legal consequences cause by an OOP, one is branded for life as a criminal in Arizona. (Since we have no formal "expungement" process.)
The harm is obvious if one wants to run for public office. As the COA has observed, “Once issued, an order of protection carries with it an array of collateral legal and reputational consequences that last beyond the order's expiration.” (Savord v. Morton, 330 P. 3d 1013, 1016 - Ariz: Court of Appeals, 1st Div, 2014.)
The consequences from a civil IAH (and IAWH) are only slightly less harmful. Maybe. Recent changes to Arizona law now make it so that a defendant's name is a CIVIL Injunction is placed in the FBI's National CRIME Information Center. (See A.R.S. S 12-1809(L).) Often ex parte. So now many innocent Arizonans will be branded for life by being on an FBI list, being listed as criminals, often absent Due Process, simply because someone ran crying to a judge. Nothing good can come from being on an FBI list. (In fact, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board searches the FBI's NCIC before hiring Law Enforcement Candidates. A hit can disqualify a candidate. We are waiting for the Police Union to sue when a candidate is harmed by this.)
In addition to a ruined reputation (think running for public office again), a civil IAH is like having a spring trap set for you. If your adversary ever calls the police on you, claiming that you violated the Injunction, true or not, then it is "Go Directly to Jail" for you. No discretion for the arresting officer. (See 1809(M).) That loss of liberty constitutes substantial harm.
And it really happens. We have reported before an example of abuse of this provision used against one of our members.
He had had words with his neighbor. The police were called. The police took the neighbor's side, and suggested the neighbor obtain an IAH against our man. Our man sought a challenge hearing. At the court house, our man's neighbor held the door to the court open for him. Our man, being the polite man that he is, said, "Thank you" to his neighbor. WHAM! Instant arrest and jail for violating the No Contact order in the Injunction.
Thankfully the prosecutor did not prosecute. And the IAH was vacated on appeal. But our man still has an arrest record forever now, caused by an unmeritorious IAH.
Is this the kind of jurisprudence this Court wants its judicial officers doling out? We hope not.
As we noted in our petition, the state of Minnesota has already adopted a rule change like this in its statutes, telling judges that they are not obligated to issue "protective orders" simply for the asking. As it goes to this Court, our petition simply asks for a common sense restatement of fundamental laws of jurisprudence in the interest of Justice for All. This change will not affect bona fide "protective orders" from being issued. But hopefully it will diminish the number of bogus orders from being issued. (Which, as a bonus, will free up the court's resources, saving everyone time & money.)
 There are few precedents due to the fact that "protective orders" almost always start at the Justice Court level, which, by law, precludes appeal at the COA level.
 In Mahar v. Acuna, Officer Mahar did not request that his OOP be vacated. But since the COA found that the judge had issued the OOP to "teach a lesson about civilized conduct," it's likely that the COA would have vacated the OOP if asked.
 The last we checked, the Court does not keep track of how many Orders are appealed. Nor of those appealed, how many are overturned. We suggest that it should.
The Court does keep track of how many challenge hearings there are, but surprisingly, does not keep track of how many are successful. Again, we suggest that the Court collect this data. All the data will provide a metric so that the Court can see when Protective Order Procedure is being abused.