Letters to the Editor

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CRIME: Don’t jump to conclusions over protective order rejection

Letter by Larry J. Couture, University Place on Jan. 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm with 5 Comments »
January 25, 2011 12:10 pm

Re: “Safety concerned victim” (TNT, 1-25).

Before everyone goes off the deep end about Court Commissioner Mark Gelman denying a domestic violence protective order in October to the woman murdered recently, I would suggest reading the petition and determining why it was denied.

No commissioner or judge wants to pick up the paper and see that someone has been murdered after a protective order was denied. However, in this case Gelman had no choice.

The petition claimed that the man had harassed her by phone. She did not allege that she was fearful. The last allegation of any form of violence was more than six years before, which makes it pretty antecedent. The woman’s continued, voluntary association with this man clearly indicates that she was not fearful of him.

This is not to condone his conduct, but it would be unfair to a commissioner who wishes to protect the public and does everything he can to follow the law. That is what we pay him for, in my mind.

(Couture is a Tacoma attorney.)

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Too bad this had to happen. My protection order is 20 years old but it doesn’t erase fear or the fact that after so long a batterer hasn’t changed his colors.

  2. I often wonder how much inquiring is done in cases such as this.After hearing and observing on TV the number of cases where no contact orders are ignored and the victim is beaten or murdered,I feel the justice system is far too lax in protecting the victim.

  3. tntsoundoff says:

    “This is not to condone his conduct, but it would be unfair to a commissioner who wishes to protect the public and does everything he can to follow the law. That is what we pay him for, in my mind.”

    Your words completely identify the problem. The “Law” doesn’t protect anybody. People protect people.

    And, apparently, the fact that someone would take the time, show up to court, with a document (which ONLY states someone has been harassing you by phone) isn’t enough.

    You’re clearly not interested in protecting people. You’re clearly interested in upholding a series of words strung together.

    This is at least the second, and perhaps the third, murder of a woman in Tacoma who either had, or desired, a protection order recently.

    Every situation is different…but describing how this woman fell short of quantifying her problem in the eyes of “the law,” as justification, is simply a lame-duck excuse.

    And I wish our judges used a little more judgement. Especially now…

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