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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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NJ Judge Denies Restraining Order for Plaintiff Who Instigated Domestic Violence

In most legal circles, a temporary restraining order is fairly easy to obtain on behalf of a client — mainly because the threshold for proof is quite low. Judges in New Jersey tend to take a cautious attitude toward granting TROs (temporary restraining orders), opting for “better safe than sorry” action. However, when it comes to getting a judge to issue a final restraining order, defendants now have a possible defense on their side: plaintiff instigation.

Judge Lawrence Jones, presiding in Ocean County Superior Court, issued an opinion that says any person facing the possibility of a restraining order can use “provocation” as a defense, especially if the defendant has no history of violence. Judge Jones wrote that if the defendant was responding to the plaintiff’s actions, that must be taken into consideration. He suggested that fellow judges consider his opinion when deciding on FRO (final restraining order).

The judge issued this opinion in the matter of R.C. v. R.W. This is a situation where a couple had two children and were living together. The man (R.C) believes his girlfriend was dating another man, after the two moved to separate residences. R.C. instigated violence and, when the woman, R.W. responded in kind, the man filed domestic violence charges and sought a restraining order against her.

Judge Jones denied the FRO saying: “Even the most non-violent, docile and peace-loving of individuals may sometimes be provoked into acting impulsively, immaturely and regrettably, in direct and immediately response to such instigation.

The moral of the story is that things are never exactly what they seem. If you are being accused of domestic violence and are concerned that you may be facing a final restraining order that will keep you from your property and children, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer today.

John W. Tumelty has been defending people charged with domestic violence in South Jersey for more than 35 years. He will protect your rights and reputation and will do everything he can to convince the judge that an FRO is not warranted in your case. Contact him today for a free consultation.

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