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· August 25, 2013

Domestic Violence Advocates Call for Changes to Law

Yesterday, Andrea Metil, a domestic violence victim, joined the Ohio Domestic Violence Network in calling for changes to the law. Metil shared her personal experience where the state was unable to enforce a restraining order because they were unable to deliver the protection order in person, as required by Ohio law according to a recent Supreme Court ruling. Shortly after Metil was married her husband turned violent. She bravely responded to his abuse by contacting the police and stopping contact with her husband. However, her husband continued to send threatening letters, to make threatening phone calls and to avoid deputies who attempted to deliver the official order. The Supreme Court recently ruled that verbal notification is not enough for an individual to be convicted of violating the order. The individual must be notified in person, which can be difficult to do. In Metil’s case because deputies couldn’t serve him notice of the protection order he could not be convicted of violating it, despite the face that his wife had told him of it and her attorney had notified his attorney. Her charges accusing her  husband of violating the order were dropped shortly after this ruling was made. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion supporting this ruling and said:
“To sustain a conviction for violation of a protection order … the state must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it served the defendant with the order before the alleged violation,”
This is not enough for victims of domestic violence. According to Nancy Neylon, the executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, abusers “frequently will do everything they can to avoid delivery of service of a civil protection order. It is simply not feasible for Deputies to track down every respondent who leave the jurisdiction or seeks to avoid/deliver services.” Neylon and Metil called on members of the legislature to introduce legislation to change this law providing increased protection for domestic violence victims.

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