Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

Last month the NJ Assembly Judiciary Committee approved three bills designed to help the New Jersey’s domestic violence victims. The bills address the issues of bail restrictions for restraining order violators, self-defense justification pleas, and lease and rental protections for domestic violence victims. (1)

Under the first bill, violators of restraining orders resulting from domestic violence incidents would be required to post the full amount of their bail, as opposed to the 10% currently required. The bail would need to be paid in cash or by bail or surety bond. In addition, bail would be increased to a minimum of $5,000 if the violation of the restraining order was criminal in nature and to a minimum of $2,500 if the violation amounted to a disorderly person offense. (2)

The second bill paves the way for a self-defense plea for victims of domestic violence. This bill would allow evidence of domestic violence restraining orders to be admitted and considered in cases where individuals protected by the orders used force to protect themselves against their abusers. (1)

The statistics are alarming: in one year, close to 1.5 million high school students in this country suffer physical abuse at the hands of the person they are dating. (1) This issue is not unique to any specific social, economic or racial group and the most serious cases end up in the headlines. Now New Jersey is considering steps to help stop this growing social problem.

This week a State Assembly panel approved a bill, introduced by the Education Committee, which would require schools to include lessons on dating violence in their health curriculum. The lessons would be geared toward middle and high school students in grades 7 through 12. In addition, teachers and other staff members would be trained to recognize the signs and handle incidents of dating violence that may occur at school. (1)

Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey released the following statistics, supporting the need for education about this social issue:

When Terry Dusseault Sr. ran off with his 8-year-old son on August 25, police did not hesitate to issue an Amber Alert. The senior Dusseault was a registered sex offender and his brother was concerned about his mental condition when Dusseault Sr. took his son. The two were found unharmed the next day when a passing motorist spotted Dusseault’s car and notified police. (1)

That was not the case earlier this year for three-month-old Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem who was abducted by her father. It took several hours for police to determine that the infant was in danger. By the time they issued an Amber Alert, the baby’s father, Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem, had thrown her off the Garden State Parkway Bridge and into the Raritan River. Abdur-Raheem was indicted this week on several charges, including kidnapping and murder. He is being held on $2 million bail in Essex County jail. (2)

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Two years after the murder of a New Jersey mother of two, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase protection for victims of domestic violence and the children of those families.

In June 2008, Monica Paul was shot and killed, allegedly by her estranged boyfriend, in a north Jersey YMCA while her 4-year-old son was in swimming class. The couple’s 11-year-old daughter witnessed the incident. Ms. Paul had taken out a restraining order against the boyfriend, Kenneth Duckett, shortly before the shooting. (1)

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Loveland v. Hauke, N.J.Super.A.D., 2007 (unpublished opinion).

This is a domestic violence case where the plaintiff alleged defendant acted with a purpose or intent to harass.

The plaintiff, in attempting to explain her fear, attempted to testify to incidents that were not outlined in her complaint. In fact, the plaintiff informed a police officer that there were no prior instances of domestic violence. Therefore, the plaintiff was not allowed to testify to any incidents before the incident at issue.

The Trial Court issued a Final Restraining Order. Defendant appealed.

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