Outrageous Restraining Order Cases

No law has been so misused by feminist connivers and their manipulative allies, and wreaked as much havoc in families, as has the Massachusetts restraining order law. (Except maybe the child abuse laws.)

The Massachusetts restraining order law can be easily used by a person bent on post-divorce vengeance to manipulate the legal system to hurt the ex-spouse.

A person seeking a restraining order from a court can tell a judge about fear of "abuse" in a vague manner, with no chance for the defendant to respond, with no presentation of evidence, and with no test to see if the claim is true. The court will almost always then issue an order - an order which costs the other family member the loss of everything that is important - children, home, possessions, guns, (and often a lot more) forever.

We would never allow a criminal defendant to suffer such penalties without preserving all of his constitutional protections, yet we give a restraining order defendant almost no due process at all. At least in the Soviet Union they were honest about their intentions: First they try you, then they shoot you. Here, they pretend that it is all done quite legally. In one court, Quincy District Court, the chief justice writes a personal letter to all restraining order plaintiffs, inviting them in to get their orders extended, never mind the evidence.

Until the restraining order is law is changed, thousands more outrageous cases like the ones set forth here will keep happening. Most allegations of abuse are false, and simply giving out orders on a whim must stop, and soon. The few legitimate cases of genuine abuse can handled with existing laws, and without suspending the Constitution. For each actual case of real abuse, many families are destroyed needlessly. The law must be amended so that only those who commit provable, genuine abuse are affected, and so that minor arguments in families, or divorce related revenge, can no longer result in a restraining order and its inevitable destruction.

Here are a some cases showing all too painfully why the restraining order law is an outrage:

Edward (Zed) McLarnon

A very involved Dad has been kept from his son since 1994 by a series of false accusations and restraining orders, through the manipulations of a connected ex-spouse and her social worker husband. In collusion with friends inside the court, Mr. McLarnon's court hearing tapes have been edited, case file falsified, and judges coerced to give out restraining orders with no legal grounds to do so.

The Massachusetts restraining order law can be easily used by a person bent on post-divorce vengeance to manipulate the legal system to hurt the ex-spouse. In so doing, it usually ends up hurting the children just as much.

The case of Mr. Edward (Zed) McLarnon perfectly illustrates this process, and shows why this law is so evil - It has been used to disrupt, brutalize, and permanently harm his family, with no end in sight. Here is a brief summary of SOME of what happened when unscrupulous people inside and outside of the courts used this abomination of a law to their own selfish ends.

Mr. Zed McLarnon's troubles started when his ex-wife Virginia Jokisch married a social worker named David Douglas, who is an appointee of the Governor, and who instructs courts, social workers, and other government entities about domestic abuse. Mr. Douglas founded men's batterer treatment programs Emerge and Common Purpose (See below).

In 1994, Mr. Douglas and Mrs. Jokisch filed affidavits in court which falsely accused Zed of abuse in order to get a restraining order. This was to get Zed out the picture and to terminate Zed's relationship with his son, Ian. Mr. Douglas's affidavit contained a long section where he, under his professional credentials as a social worker, 'diagnosed' Zed as an "abuser", having barely met him, and having never done any kind of clinical evaluation.

Because judges are often suckers for this sort of thing, the Concord District Court, then the Middlesex Probate and Family Court granted a series of restraining orders against him, so that he could not see his son at all. Mind you, he had NOT DONE A SINGLE ACT OF ABUSE. The son later clearly admitted it under oath, but that does not seem to deter courts from issuing orders on false testimony.

Mr. Douglas, knowing how to manipulate the system, was able to exploit relationships inside the court to keep the order in place from 1994 until 2001. All without an evidentiary hearing.

Mr. Douglas continued the manipulation of the court in a number of ways during the years, all with help from court insiders. For example, in 1994, some of Mr. Douglas' social worker friends, David Adams and Lisa Gary, prepared clinical evaluations for a guardian ad litem report which condemned Zed as an abuser without ever having met or interviewed him! (What a feat of clinical skill!) Unbelievably, even though they both literally worked as colleagues of Mr. Douglas himself, their contrived reports condemning Zed are still in the file to this day.

Mr. Douglas used his considerable resources inside the Court to have Zed's official court hearing tapes edited to frame him as an abuser. Two different tapes have over 10 places where they were edited. Several more have edits as well. His court file has been doctored to conform with those changes in the evidence at hearings. The Court docket has also been toyed with, to the point where Judge Beverly Boorstein declared the official Court docket "no good."

During most of this ordeal, Zed and his attorney have repeatedly been refused access to his public files at the Middlesex Probate and Family Court. Every time we went in, they were "lost". Every time. Only when a reporter asked for them, were they suddenly discovered.

Not content with the destruction of a restraining order, Mr. Douglas and Ms. Jokisch also wanted to snare Zed in a criminal violation of the order. So, they falsely accused him of violating the restraining order, and brought him to Cambridge District Court. They had doctored a restraining order to present to the court; However, Zed had the real one with him, and was able to show the court their perjury, and get the complaint dismissed.

This sort of dreary oppression went on for years, all without a hearing on the merits of the restraining order. Every year, it was just automatically re-granted.

Fast forward to the year 2000. In March, Zed's attorney presented some motions to the Middlesex Probate and Family Court to try to get the record corrected, and get an evidentiary hearing. The packet of documents, meticulously prepared and proven, was several inches thick. The judge gave Attorney Hession only a few minutes to argue the case, and he was barely able to start explaining the issues.

Without ruling on any of the substantive motions, the judge slapped a $3,500.00 fine on Zed, to teach him not to rock the boat that way. Then, when he didn't pay it, he was brought in on contempt, and before he could say A SINGLE WORD, was thrown in jail. As Lenny Bruce once said, "In the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls."

In December of 2000, Zed and his then-Attorney Gregory Hession were allowed to address the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court about the corruption in the Middlesex Probate and Family Court. Of course, the Court validated its own, and said that we should have gone to complain to an administrative office of the Probate Court. This was after having gone to the Inspector General, the FBI, the Middlesex District Attorney, the Cambridge Police, the Probate Court, and having each one either ignore it or refer it to somewhere else.

Not one person has refuted Zed's claim that his official hearing tapes are edited, or that his court file has been manipulated. His opponents have only used procedural ruses to keep a court from having to address it directly.

This case shows virtually all of the things that make the current restraining order law so dreadfully unjust. Rather than accomplish its purpose to stop abuse, the law has been manipulated by insiders to destroy a family. This law must change, and someone needs to pay for the wrongdoing to Mr. McLarnon.

(These programs use extortion and coercion to extract an admission from the participants that they are abusers, with the threat that they may go to jail and lose their families forever if they don't admit it. Either they must admit to being a batterer, which makes them guilty, or deny it, and become a "batterer in denial," which also means that they are guilty!

There is a huge financial incentive to find "abuse" in every case. The people involved in the "abuse" racket are like a man with a hammer, who thinks everything around him looks like a nail. If the people are in the program, it is assumed that they must be abusers, despite the fact that there is almost never is clinical determination of that prior to being 'sentenced' to such a program.)

Hal Wittner

A Father has been kept from seeing his children for over thirteen years by a restraining order issued by the Berkshire County Probate Court, based on an ex-wife's false allegations of abuse. There has not been a single evidentiary hearing. He was cleared of all these allegations in the state of California, but the Court has so far not wanted to see ANY evidence.

Hal Wittner has been kept from seeing his three little children in Berkshire County for over thirteen years by a restraining order taken out by a vengeful ex-wife, without an evidentiary hearing. One would think that a court would require serious allegations to be verified by some sort of evidentiary hearing; However, not when it comes to a restraining order. Hal has been to court over 20 times, and not a single professional has testified that he is abusive, yet that has not mattered.

Mr. Wittner has not seen his children ONCE since 1996. Naturally, he is heartbroken and cynical about the system.

As in all these restraining order cases, there is a long and frustrating history. Mrs. Wittner (now Beth Carroll), while living in California, made a complaint that a neighbor was abusing their children, but was suspicious that her husband may have been involved. After all kinds of investigations by California child protective services, the San Diego District Attorney, and Children's Hospital, Mr. Wittner was cleared of wrongdoing.

Mrs. Carroll then moved to Massachusetts and almost immediately filed a false affidavit accusing Mr. Wittner of the abuse, and asked for a restraining order. He was not there. It was granted without an evidentiary hearing, and no showing of proof whatsoever. That means there was no medical evidence, no professional testimony, no hard proof, no cross examination, no presumption of innocence - and - no hope of winning, because accusations are usually believed by judges, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof.

Even though Mr. Wittner received the most extreme punishment he could get - no contact at all with his children kids - he was still not allowed to present his evidence at a hearing held in Berkshire County by a now-"disrobed" judge. The iron curtain of the restraining order law keeps Mr. Wittner from his children to this day. We are attempting to break through that wall and prove that there was no abuse, but it will be an uphill fight.

Alan Zaniboni

Alan had the misfortune to be stalked by a two foreign women, both of whom obtained restraining orders.

One actually called him and threatened to kill him, yet the court gave the order to HER. (I have the recording of the message where she threatened to shoot him and run him over) Eventually, with much effort, the Dorchester District Court dismissed the case, because she did not show up at the hearing, presumably because she did not want to answer any questions about her own threats.

The second woman came to his house, and accused him of dating another woman. She came in, assaulted him severely, and his attempts to stave off serious bodily harm resulted in a fat lip to her. Quincy District Court, ignoring the fact that she attacked him, gave her a restraining order. That court also extended the order.

Then, when it came time for another extension, the chief justice sent out a personalized letter to the "victim", inviting her to come on in and get her restraining order, stating that the court would reschedule the hearing if it was not convenient. Naturally, even though Mr. Zaniboni had not seen his abuser for years, and proved by her own words that there was NO ABUSE OR FEAR OF ABUSE, the court extended the order. It is now on appeal.

Paul Pathiakis

Poor Paul ended up with a restraining order against him, based on having been driven off the road, and coming home and showing some annoyance as he cleaned up. Milford District Court granted the order readily as a first strike in a divorce case.

The order was extended several times, the last time in September of 2008. During that hearing, the almost-ex-wife told the court she was beset by "trauma fear" that he would harm her, that he repeatedly violated the order, that he abused and harmed her, and so forth.

During a divorce-related deposition, she denied each allegation of abuse. Here are some actual transcript excerpts:

Q.  Are there any incidents of abuse since December of ‘06?
A.  Just recently he has violated a restraining order, again, by not returning the child to me after court ordered visitations.   
Q.  Are there any incidents of what could be defined as abuse?
A.  . . . In recent text messages, just the other day, actually back in December, he told me not to - - that I was not to defy him from seeing his child on his visitation days, and that I was putting the child in the middle of visitation and using him, all via text this was.

When queried further about any actual physical harm, she stated:

Q.  . . . .Since December of 2006, has he attempted to cause you physical harm?
A.  No. 
Q.  Has he caused you any physical harm. 
A.  No.

When asked at the deposition about whether Mr. Pathiakis placed her in fear of imminent serious physical harm, she answered “yes”, but then could not state a single act that would objectively place a person in fear. Rather, she pointed to text messages from him asking her not to take away his visitation with their son.

And my personal favorite:

At the restraining order hearing, Ms. Hupp used the provocative word “attacks” to describe Mr. Pathiakis’s actions, but then had to admit to the Court that she meant that Mr. Pathiakis might come over and tell her boyfriend “what he thinks of him.” Upon further questioning at the deposition, she revealed that the supposed “attacks” involved calling the boyfriend “inconsiderate”, and that there were no attacks at all.

Naturally, the court issued the restraining order. Eventually, it was vacated, after lots of waste of money, time and effort.

Todd Sandahl

This may get the award for the weirdest false allegation of all time in a restraining order hearing. Todd's wife, right before the divorce trial, accused him of sending three friends in to her apartment dressed in purple camouflage gear worn by Fathers For Justice, and assaulting and threatening her.

This happened during rush hour on a busy street, where the alleged perps went into a huge apartment complex, unseen by anyone and escaped also without being seen. After she was allegedly choked and hit, there was not a mark on her.

She did not call the police, but decided to go to work. She then ended up passed out near an emergency room, and when found, recounted her fantastic story.

Turns out her apartment was also across the hall from the apartment superintendent, who told me that NO ONE gets in that place without her knowing about it.

Naturally, Quincy District Court gave her an ex parte order, but thankfully, at the second hearing, the court saw through the ruse and did not extend the order. A very close call indeed.