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.)