Thursday, November 11, 2004

No duty to protect the individual

The Smallest Minority has an entry in the latest Carnival of the Vanities. His take on the recent ruling about restraining orders is good.
The 10th Circuit thinks (6-5) that citizens should be told when a polity isn't going to enforce a restraining order? Getting the government to admit this fact, baldly, in plain English, is in my humble opinion a pipe-dream. The government isn't going to admit anything.
I think just the opposite will happen. Any police department with adequate legal support will make it a policy to notify EVERY petitioner that the restraining will not be enforced. The burden of notification discharged, the police are off the hook. In other words, status quo. Really good departments will have legal notices in their local paper telling all current holders of such orders to wake up to reality.

Having the police tell people that their restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper is a good thing. (I've been telling people that for years but no one listens.) Telling them that the police CANNOT protect them is a good thing. At least some of them will decide to protect themselves.

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