Accused does not mean guilty. Temporary protection from abuse (PFA) orders are usually based solely on the plaintiff's ex parte allegations. The defendant has the right to dispute those allegations at a PFA hearing.
Men are often not treated fairly in court, according to the National Institutes of Health. Here are two cases where having an attorney resulted in winning better outcomes for the accused men.
Trevor Bauer – A High-Value Target
When Major League Baseball pitcher Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers was served with a temporary restraining order, he did two smart things: He shut up and lawyered up.
A 27-year-old plaintiff with severe injuries to her face and genitals sought a permanent restraining order against Bauer in a four-day hearing in August in Los Angeles. She alleged Bauer had caused those injuries in two sexual encounters in April and May.
At trial, Bauer's attorneys proved the woman had initiated both encounters, requesting “rough sex” and “rougher sex” in text messages. Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman noted the failure to include those consensual texts in the original petition for a temporary restraining order in June was “materially misleading.”
Ultimately, Gould-Saltman ruled Aug. 19 that Bauer did not pose a continuing threat to the plaintiff. She dissolved the original temporary restraining order against Bauer and denied the plaintiff's request for a permanent order.
Although at the close of 2021, Bauer remained under investigation by Major League Baseball and the L.A. District Attorney's Office, the dismissal of the restraining order against Bauer is expected to help his case.
David Russo – District Attorney Accused
As the top prosecutor for Greene County, Pennsylvania, David Russo found himself named as a defendant in a protection-from-abuse order in a petition filed Nov. 29 by his estranged wife, Jana Russo. More than a dozen firearms were seized from Russo's possession on Nov. 30. Besides contact with his wife, he was prohibited from having any contact with his four children until a PFA hearing.
In the PFA, Jana Russo accused David Russo of drinking heavily and using violently abusive language toward her and, sometimes, their children. She also claimed he used his ownership of firearms to intimidate her.
In a prepared statement on Dec. 1, Russo accused his wife of fabricating an “elaborate and pejorative” PFA to use as leverage in an upcoming custody battle. Jana Russo filed for divorce on Dec. 9.
At the Dec. 14 PFA hearing, David Russo was represented by attorney Josephine Johnson. Russo was granted shared custody and visitation rights with his children, but the order to stay away from his wife was extended for 60 days. If Russo abides by the PFA, it will expire after those 60 days, said Johnson.
Why You Need an Attorney
Anyone served with a PFA would benefit from legal counsel, but men are especially vulnerable. They have “the least positive experiences with members of the DV [domestic violence] service system,” according to the National Institutes of Health report. This is all the more reason to lawyer up.
If you or someone you care about has been served with a PFA, an experienced defense attorney may help you get the PFA dismissed or negotiate better terms. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for expert legal advice at 888-535-3686.