Judge holds a late defendant accountable

Monitors were surprised to see what played out in DV criminal court last week.  A defendant, due at 8:30 am, arrived at court just before noon.  The judge vigorously assessed the veracity of the defendant’s claim that he was late because his car had broken down. What the judge did is an excellent best practice! […]

Questionable denials of temporary protective orders

temporary protective orders

It is critical that deserving victims of domestic violence get 7 day temporary orders when they need them – but that isn’t always happening in Montgomery County District Courts. A judge in Maryland need only find “reasonable cause” to believe there is bodily harm, stalking or a serious threat to issue a 7 day order. The Maryland legislature […]

Particularly unsafe day in criminal domestic violence court

criminal domestic violence

Some criminal domestic violence dockets go more smoothly than others. It was infuriating last week to see what happened to a victim who took the brave step to come to court to testify against her former partner, who was charged with violating her protective order six times. The defendant’s criminal record included numerous assault charges, carrying a concealed […]

Where are the victims in dv criminal court?

Last week during District Court’s criminal dv docket the State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutors did their level best to present evidence showing grounds for conviction in each case they pursued. On this particular day, however, there was not a single victim present in the courtroom to testify. Going to court to face an abuser is an emotional […]

Continuing ed needed for domestic violence judges

When District Court judges are unavailable to hear domestic violence protective order cases, retired judges pitch in. Recently two different visiting domestic violence judges didn’t know about a major change in domestic violence law that took effect Oct. 1, 2015.  The new law is important – it allows dating violence victims to file for full year protective orders instead of […]

Court Watch Montgomery issued it’s first major report (Oct. 2011)

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence in Montgomery County: Challenges and Opportunities with Protective and Peace Orders Court Watch Montgomery has released our first report analyzing data collected by volunteers in domestic violence protective order dockets to identify needed court reforms. We estimate that over 7,000 residents are victims of domestic violence in Montgomery County each […]