An unpublished opinion out of Los Angeles County gives us a refresher on serving domestic violence restraining orders on the defendant.
Shaun got an ex parte domestic violence restraining order against Mark. The requisite follow-up hearing was scheduled for January 21, 2010. Shaun served the orders and notice of hearing on Mark on January 19, 2010. Mark did not appear at the January 21st hearing. On the 21st the court continued the hearing to February 5. There was no adequate proof that Mark was ever served with notice that the new hearing date was February 5th (the record is also unclear as to whether or not the court reissued the restraining orders at the January 21st hearing). Mark did not appear at the February 5th hearing, and the court made the temporary orders permanent.
Mark then appealed the issuance of the permanent restraining order. He argued that he had not been timely served with the orders and notice of the January 21st hearing, and that he had not been served with notice of the continued February 5th hearing. The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the restraining order. The decision was based on the fact that temporary restraining orders must be served on the defendant at least five hays before the hearing, and that the defendant must have been served with notice that the January 21st hearing was continued to February 5th. Mark was served with the restraining orders only two days before the January 21st hearing, and he received no notice of the continuance of the January 21st hearing to February 5th.
Another interesting note about this case. Look at the relevant dates: January and February of 2010. The appellate decision reversing did not get issued until April 11, 2011. A full 1 year and 2 months later. Presumably Mark was forced to endure an unlawful restraining order for 14 months while the case worked its way through the appellate process. Talk about frustrating!
Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.