Borrowing the title of a famous George Gershwin ditty, "they
all laughed" when a Santa Fe, New Mexico family court judge
granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against TV talk
show host David Letterman to protect a woman he had never
met, never heard of, and lived 2,000 miles away from.
Colleen Nestler claimed that Letterman had caused her
"mental cruelty" and "sleep deprivation" for over a decade
by using code words and gestures during his network TV
That ridiculous TRO was dismissed last December, but
according to a
new report released this week by RADAR (Respecting
Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting), the case was not a
judicial anomaly but "the logical culmination of years of
ever-expanding definitions of domestic violence." RADAR is a
Maryland-based think tank that specializes in exposing the
excesses of the domestic violence bureaucracy.
The New Mexico statute defines domestic violence as
causing "severe emotional distress." That definition was met
when Ms. Nestler claimed she suffered from exhaustion and
had gone bankrupt because of Letterman's actions.
The New Mexico statute appears to limit domestic violence
to "any incident by a household member," and Letterman, who
lives in Connecticut and works in New York, had never been
in Ms. Nestler's household. But New Mexico law defines
household member to include "a person with whom the
petitioner has had a continuing personal relationship,"
and Ms. Nestler's charge that Letterman's broadcast of
television messages for eleven years qualified as a
"continuing" relationship and thereby turned him into a
The family court judge who issued the TRO, Daniel
Sanchez, may have been predisposed to believe any allegation
presented to him by a complaining woman even though she had
no evidence. His own biography lists him as chairman of the
Northern New Mexico Domestic Violence Task Force.
RADAR reports that only
five states define domestic violence in terms of overt
actions that can be objectively proven or refuted in a court
of law. The rest of the states have
broadened their definition to include fear, emotional
distress, and psychological feelings.
The use of the word "harassment" in domestic violence
definitions is borrowed from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission's definition, which is based on the
"effect" of an action rather than the action itself. In
Oklahoma, a man can be charged with harassment if he
seriously "annoys" a woman.
The 1999 book by University of Massachusetts Professor
Daphne Patai, "Heterophobia:
Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism,"
powerfully indicts what she labels the "Sexual Harassment
Industry." The feminists
have created a judicial world in which
accusation equals guilt,
and the distinction between
severe offenses and trivial annoyances is erased.
RADAR's report explains that the definition of domestic
has also been expanded. Originally, domestic meant a
household member, but now it means a person with whom the
woman "has been involved in an intimate relationship"
(Colorado), persons who are in a "dating or engagement
relationship" (Rhode Island), or "any other person . . . as
determined by the court" (North Dakota).
How did it happen that state laws against domestic
violence are written so broadly as to produce such
absurdities? Family court
judges issue two million TROs every year, half are routinely
extended, 85 percent are against
men, and half do not
include any allegation of violence but rely on vague
complaints made without evidence.
money, both at the supply and the demand
ends of the economic trail. The supply of
1,500 new domestic violence
laws enacted by states from 1997 to 2005 is largely the
handiwork of targeted lobbying by feminists funded by the
multi-million-dollar federal boondoggle called the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA).
VAWA is blatantly gender
discriminatory; as its title proclaims,
it is designed to address
only complaints by women.
provides taxpayer funding to feminists to teach legislators,
judges and prosecutors the
stereotypes that men are
batterers and women are victims.
The demand end of the economic chain is the fact that
lawyers advise them)
that making allegations of
domestic violence (even
without proof or evidence)
is the fastest and cheapest
way to win child custody plus
generous financial support.
The financial incentives to lie or
exaggerate are powerful.
violations in the issuing of TROs
presumption of innocence,
poor defendants to free counsel, while women are given
the right to take depositions,
standard of proof,
...no need to
be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,
the right to confront accusers,
of trial by jury.
Assault and battery are already
crimes in every state without any need of VAWA.
TROs empower activist
family court judges to criminalize a vast range of otherwise
legal behavior (usually a father's contact with his own
children and entry into his own home) which are
crimes only for the recipient of the order,
who can then be arrested and jailed without
trial for doing what no statute prohibits and what anyone
else may lawfully do.
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Alton, IL 62002