How easy/difficult is it to get a restraining order?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Wong, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Hi everyone,
    I did a search on the above topic but didn't come up with anything of this nature.
    I'm 28 years old. My younger brother who is 23 years of age has just never really seen eye to eye with me. This goes back for as long as I can remember. Obviously, there's far too much history to discuss in this thread.
    However, an issue arose approx. six weeks ago. An e-mail was sent out by him to myself and the rest of my family. I didn't appreciate the tone of his e-mail. People often forget that sending out an e-mail is quite often just as though you're speaking to that individual face to face. At any rate, I didn't appreciate the manner in which he addressed the group. And while I certainly didn't speak on their behalf, it was enough to offend me. I replied and called him on it. 45 e-mails later that day (I shit you not) he and his fiancee sent several threatening e-mails. The funniest part is *they* actually threatened me with going to the local authorities... when upon scrutinizing the 45 e-mails, I never mentioned any threat whatsoever!
    My other brother who refuses to get involved, suggested the joke be on them. I don't quite see what they would be presenting to the local authorities since again, I never typed any threatening message at all. However, I have two statements from my brother who is involved threatening me in a physical manner and wishing I were dead.
    I know typing this out sounds completely silly and immature. But does anyone knows if I'd be able to get a restraining order placed on my brother and his deranged fiancee given the threatening e-mails they've sent?? Is that valid grounds for a restraining order? If so, what do I have to do? The ironic part of it all is my brother is a community service officer for a local police department in a different jurisdiction approx. 10-15 miles away. From what I understand, I don't believe I can file the report with his particular precinct? (although, I think his superiors would love to hear about his behavior) [​IMG]
    Any information anyone can lend would be most helpful. And if any of this sounds childish and immature that's because it is.
    Scott.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    You need to consult a local lawyer. The procedures and standards for obtaining restraining orders vary enormously from state to state (and even from county to county, depending on the character and history of local courts).

    M.
     
  3. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  4. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Having been involved in similar situations in the past, I can sympathise with Scott's problem.

    To an outsider, it may seem like a silly sibling rivalry. "Get over it", "Patching things up", "Family's the most important thing", blah blah blah, all fall on empty ears when you're acutally in the situation yourself, and realize the seriousness of what's going on. Sometimes no one knows how to hurt you better than those who know you best - your family!

    Scott, call a lawyer ASAP, and find out what needs to be done.

    Moe.
     
  5. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    You may not need to talk with a lawyer - or you may be able to get more information about the restraining or protective order procedures in your local jurisdiction without talking with a lawyer. Many local courts and local domestic violence service agencies provide information about the local law, forms you can complete without legal assistance, and assistance with hearing processes, scheduling, etc.

    There is nothing wrong with talking with a lawyer (I am one, and I have 20 years of experience with domestic violence issues) but keep in mind the old line "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." If you talk wtih a lawyer, try to find one with diverse experience in domestic law, mediation, counseling, and civil practice. What you have is not at its core a legal problem, although it could be converted into a whole mess of legal problems unnecessarily.
     
  6. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    I honestly didn't even think about bringing a lawyer into this scenario. I just thought it was as simple as walking into my local police department and asking an officer for a restraining order. I'd bring proof with me, of course. Proof of the four or five statements in varied e-mails over the course of that time period. Why would I need to seek legal advice from a lawyer? I didn't feel like shelling out any money over this silliness. I'm merely doing this to throw something back in their face. Again, I realize that isn't the more mature response to all of this... but the whole thing has been ridiculous from the get go.

    These family matters really *are* situations you have to be in order to recognize the severity of it all. Explaining this situation to someone out of our "loop" sounds silly and immature. However, my Mom has not been sleeping well or eating well do to all of the family commotion and squabble prior to the holidays. She understands my brother and I aren't on speaking terms at the moment. She refused to read any of our disgusting e-mails but at the same time, she realizes the amount of hurt my brother has inflicted upon me and the rest of our family due to his hurtful words. If his fiancee had not gotten involved in the manner in which she did, I'd probably be a lot more likely to e-mail or call my brother and just tell him all of this is silly and to simply put it all behind us. But the combination of his own feelings and the little voice next to his ear from his evil, psycho, bitch of a fiancee, makes things very, very difficult.

    Again, just to reiterate my point, it was *her* who wrote me an official dated e-mail advising I have threated them, (which, of course, I have not) She advised e-mailing her or my brother again or coming anywhere near them or their place of residence would result in her calling the local authorities on me!! Ummm... so my attitude to all of that is go-right-ahead. Would she really call the cops on me? Oh really? And say what? "Scott e-mailed me." And? What would they do? Show up at my door? "Excuse me sir, you e-mailed her. You're coming with us."

    So before she can do any of that silliness, my other brother suggested I toss it back in their face and obtain a restraining order *before* she can do it to me. Again, another thing that makes this matter even more sickening is my brother who has wished death upon me happens to be a full-time community service officer with another local precinct!!! I don't think his captain would be too happy with him if he knew the shit he says or realizes the temper he has.

    So... from the sound of all of your replies, it doesn't seem as though it's as easy as just walking into a local PD and getting one of these things, is it?

    Scott.
     
  7. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    This all does sound very childish, and unless your brother has a history of actual violence, I doubt very much that you will get a restraining order, since this sounds like you are just trying to up the ante.

    If you are bothered by the emails, simply set up a filter and be rid of them. Similarly, you can block any phone calls with a device from your phone company.

    That said, it is extremely sad that you are on these kind of terms with a sibling. I know of a similar situation where one brother was less than communicative with the rest of his family. He is now in a coma after a car crash, and I can tell you that any animosity between the family has disappeared, but it may be too late to reconcile anything. You are lucky to have family. Don't wait until it is too late to get over these petty squabbles and appreciate what you have. It won't last forever.
     
  9. bruce townley

    bruce townley Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Dennis

    Dennis Second Unit

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    Scott, I find it interesting that you seem surprised that a person with a temperament, such as your brother's, works in law enforcement; decency is not a pre-requisite for obtaining employment in law enforcement, luckily for us some have it.

    I would suggest you try to talk it out with your brother. You should have nipped this in the bud; it shouldn't have escalated to 45 e-mails culminating in a death threat. Once you saw how irrational your brother was being, you should have ignored him. Follow your other brother's lead, stay out of it.

    Maybe I'm wrong but you're posts come across as bitter and resentful and you seem to take a perverse pleasure in pointing out the boorish behavior exhibited by your brother and his mate. There is something at the root of this problem that you don't or can't share, just let it go, the anger will only burn you out.
     
  11. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I don't think its fair for anyone to call this silly or petty. I don't get along at all with my brother, and its something that's gone on for 30 1/2 years, ever since I was born. This is serious stuff at times, not on the violent side, but on the emotional side. I've suffered severe damage to my self esteem because of my brother and its horrible that people not intimately familiar with the situation are passing judgment. I've had other relationships affected because people think I'm over reacting to my brother because they see one incident, not the lifetime of abuse leading up to it.

    A restraining order may not matter much. If you know that his threats aren't for real, then what is it going to do? Will it be a matter of public record that his superiors will see? Threatening e-mails are a form of harassment, and action can be taken on them. If you feel that the e-mails show his threats were completely undeserved, submit the e-mails to his superiors or internal affairs at his department so they can see the kind of person they have working for them. Its best to let them know if they have someone working for them that is breaking the law.
     
  12. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Okay, I honestly had no idea a restraining order was issued by a judge and not a police department. I've never attempted to obtain a restraining order against another individual, hence, the reason for this thread.

    The serverity of the relationship with my brother isn't one I take likely at all. The scenario of something evil happening to my brother and me, having all of these terrible regrets is something I've pondered. It's not something that bothers me at all. Terrible, you say? Mmm... perhaps.

    Let me give even more detail to all of this. I do go to counseling approx. once every three weeks due to previous matters in my life. I seek professional help from a psychologist and a psychiatrist. My psychologist, who I think is just about the coolest guy in the world, is one I have talked very openly about this problem. In fact, I made an appointment to see him *the day* all of that e-mailing bullshit began.

    Now with the holidays getting closer and my Mom advising me she is even more upset about this than ever, I saw my psychologist again just a few days ago. He advised he would set up a special appointment for myself, my Mom, my brother, his deranged fiancee, my other brother, his girlfriend, and my girlfriend. This appointment would attempt to at least patch things up prior to the holidays. Also, he would attempt to get down to the root of the problem between my brother and I and his massive resentment towards me. Yes, that's right. His resentment towards me. And why in the world his stupid fiancee can't stay the hell out of this problem.

    I contacted my Mom that evening and let her know what my doctor said. She called my brother and asked if he'd be willing to go. Everyone was willing to do it and arrange things in their schedules *except* my brother who hates me and his psycho fiancee. Their answer when my Mom asked if they'd be willing to attempt to work things out?

    "Absolutely not."

    So you see, that was the last straw for me. I've done all I can with this relationship. I've attempted to patch things up. I've attempted to fix what is now broken. Hell, I'd e-mail or call the kid if it weren't for the fact that they mentioned if either of them (my brother or his fiancee) hear from me in any way at all, they're calling the police.

    Which brings me back to my original question.

    But since, all of this "silliness" is merely a way for me to "up the ante" so to speak, then I'm certainly not going to shell out hard earned cash for legal matters.

    Is my brother serious about his threats? Ummm... I don't know. This was almost a month ago when all of this went on so I'm not too concerned.

    My point was this: THEY advised ME in writing they would call the police on me if I were to contact either of them ever again. Furthermore, they stated in several of my e-mail replies to them that I threatened them. I did not. I repeat, I did not. My "upping the ante" so to speak would be to toss all of that back into both of their faces and obtain a restraining order of my own. Not necessarily because I fear for my life (even though it was threatened) but because they said I threatened them. I have every single e-mail they sent to me. I have all of my replies I've sent to them. All of it is printed out and inside of my safe. No where at any point in time did I threaten them. However, my brother has at least four threatening statements to me where he threatened. In what way could the local authorities possibly do anything to me? Someone answer me that question. Hence, the reason for my itchy finger. I almost WANT to e-mail both of them and say "Ha. Okay. I e-mailed you. What are you gonna do? Call the police on me? And say what?" Now that? That's silly.

    I'm not sure what else I can say about all of this. I'm sorry some of you find it silly or immature. Again, I realize to someone "out of the loop" per se, that all of this would sound quite trivial. I felt silly talking about all of this with my psychologist. He assured me nothing about it is silly. I've had recurring nightmares over the last three weeks about what's been going on with this. I feel bad it's upset my other brother and Mom as much as it has. I just know I've done nothing wrong. I also know I'm not going to go any further. I'm certainly not going to go seek legal advice. It's not worth it.

    As for my brother? If he sees me as dead. Then that's what I'll be to him. And he'll not hear another peep out of me for as long as we both shall live. It is sad. But if any of you understood my brother and how he talks to people he supposedly loves, then I'm sure you'd all better understand the situation.

    Sorry for rambling.... I hope I was able to clear up a few things.

    Scott.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Scott,

    you are one-upping him, or trying to up the ante. Look back over all you have said. You say over and over that you want to get back at your brother.

    I have gone through these things myself. A lot of people have. They may not all get as elevated as your situation, but that is often because they finally just let it be. The Psychologist had the only truly constructive solution. The fact that your brother flatly refused, shows he has no interest in solving things. You have no control over that, and no matter what you do, you will not have any control over that.

    Let them both go. Detach yourself. Right now, it is hurting the entire family, so he "gets his way." You can't do anything about him, but you can improve your behavior. After all, you can't choose your family. Who knows, if you detach yourself, he may come around some day. Your not contributing to the problems may help that.
     
  14. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

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    Neither you or your brother sound capable of seeing the other's side in this fight. Or in any of the long-term bitterness and troubles that have led up to this fight.

    You *don't* present yourself as a reasonable and calm person in this situation. The way you describe your brother and (particularly) his fiance sounds both hateful and spiteful. Whether those feelings are justified is not the point. It doesn't matter who started what, now or however many years ago. The distorting anger on both sides will never stop unless you stop it. If you can't treat them with decency and respect--whether you agree with them or not--they will never treat *you* that way either.

    I don't know any of the specifics of this situation. Perhaps your anger is well-founded. It's certainly normal. Trouble is: their anger is normal too--at this point in your fight. You clearly started this thread as someone looking to make a bad situation worse. Drop them from your life completely, or accept that you are at least as much a part of the problem as they are.
     
  15. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    This is true. Neither of us are capable of seeing the other person's view. My brother on the other hand isn't even willing to work things out. I should at least be commended for 1.) Seeking professional help. 2.) Doing what's best for the sanity of my Mom prior to the holidays and attempting to at least seek a truce.

    I don't deny the fact that I've been attempting to "one-up" him at all. But no one thinks it's odd that I've not been threatening at all to my brother or his fiancee and yet, they have the audacity to threaten ME with going to the police?? Doesn't that seem odd to any of you? Granted, you have to take my word that I swear on God's name after dissecting 40+ e-mails, I never, never, ever threatened either of those individuals in any way, shape, or form.

    The face that when this thread started I *did* want to one-up him, so to speak, is something I no longer want to do.

    As for me being a rational, calm, reasonable individual, I'm actually quite calm and rational. I just realized there's a lot more to this situation between my brother and I than this one thread could ever reveal. All of you are only getting the very tip of an enormous iceberg that stems back to our childhood days, the divorce between my mother and father, the fact that he often cheated and beat on her, and many, many other topics I couldn't possibly get into.

    I have accepted the fact that the both of them have been dropped from my life completely. I have not spoken to either of them since the day this all began on November 20th.

    Scott.
     
  16. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Scott,
    No judgment passing here just a few thoughts, suggestions after reading this post.
    If, and only if you feel truly threatened of physical harm by your brother or his fiancee then I would advise filing a report with your local police department.
    Basically you have to prove to the police that you have a reason to believe the person/s threatening you can actually carry out their threats against you before a protection order would come into play. If the police tell you they can't do anything for you, you could consult a lawyer and have him/her argue before a judge for a restraining order but you would have to foot the bill for that.
    Each state has different laws but usually e-mail type threats will not be enough to secure a protection order from a court. Again, if you truly feel threatened talk to your local police department, report the incident and at least that would start a "paper trail" that could help you secure one in the future if the threats don't stop.
    However, my suggestion to you is to not contact your brother or his fiancee for any reason. They have requested that you do not contact them so don't. I understand it's easier said than done but if you don't want to spend your hard earned money and you want to stop contact between your brother and you (which is what a protection order would do) just don't contact them even if they continue contacting you.
    Having said all that, I hope that one day you and your brother will work things out and this crap will all be in the past. Our lives are filled with so much all ready and it sounds like you have other things to focus on so move on from this as soon as you can.
    One last thing, work on what you can control.
    You can't control what others are going to do and say but you can control what you are going to do about it.
    Brian
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Scott, it may seem like some of the things your brother and his finacee are doing are odd, but they are pretty typical behavior. It is not at all surprising he is unwilling to go to group counseling. I expect your counselor was not the least bit surprised he refused, but he had to try. It also helps point something valuable out to you.

    As far as them threatening you and acting like you have threatened them. That is also not surprising. Last year I had someone harrassing me and he had the stones to threaten to call the police on me. I just told him to go ahead. He ended up coming here on a Friday night, ringing my doorbell and shaking my front door. I'm sure he was absolutely positive he was in the right, but at that moment I certainly could have called the police and they would not have hesitated to take him away, or at least sit him in their car and let him know they could.

    Try to put yourself in your brother's shoes. I don't know what the background is, but I expect you are threatening him, even if it is only in his own mind. What I mean is, he feels threatened, even if that threat is something only he can perceive. You are trying to get him to give up something unhealthy that he doesn't want to. That is the threat. It applies to his fiancee as well.
     

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