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March 27, 2006
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

Civil Rights Violations Widespread under Domestic Violence Laws

Rockville, MD – When CBS talk-show host David Letterman was hit last December with a restraining order from a New Mexico woman he had never met, people cracked jokes about frontier justice run amok. But according to a report released today, bogus restraining orders are far more widespread and damaging than most persons realize.

Without Restraint: The Use and Abuse of Domestic Restraining Orders concludes that each year, one-half million domestic restraining orders are issued in the United States that do not involve even an allegation of violence. Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply, according to Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The report was issued by RADAR Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting an organization that tracks bias in domestic violence issues.

Mr. Letterman was accused of sending mental messages and making eye gestures designed to lure Colleen Nestler to far-away New York. Likewise, the RADAR report documents how restraining orders are routinely issued on grounds such as causing emotional distress or interference with a persons well-being.

Divorce lawyers often refer to restraining orders as silver bullets or slam-dunks because they are so easy to obtain and effective in winning the legal dispute.

Issued without objective proof, temporary restraining orders require the accused to vacate the family home and restrict contact with children. The RADAR report documents how most orders are issued under the presumption of guilty until proven innocent.

Our nations domestic violence laws pretend that men are dangerous in the intact family and should be immediately removed for nothing more than a statement of fear, according to RADAR spokesman David Usher. Due process no longer seems to apply.

The Report, which compiles information from law reviews and research studies, also notes that 15% of restraining orders are issued against women. The RADAR report is available at http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Restraining-Orders.pdf.

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org.

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