Order of Protection
By: Attorney Kelly Moore
As women, we’re all familiar with the concept of stalkers. You’ve either had one yourself or had a friend that had one. I personally had one in law school. He lived in my apartment complex. We met one night, shortly after I moved in, while some family, friends, and I were barbecuing in the common area. At first I thought, “this is cool, I’ll have a friend in the same building.” In the end, it was not cool, it was very creepy.
I did not express any romantic interest in this individual but he would not leave me alone. He would not take no for an answer, nor silence for an answer. He would call me regularly and when I didn’t answer, he would show up at my door. When I didn’t answer the door, he would continue knocking. One night, when his harassment had slowed down a bit, and was further from my mind, I ordered some Chinese food. I heard a knock on the door and thought, “Yesssssss, my egg rolls are here!!”. I, foolishly, swung the door open without looking through the peephole. Much to my chagrin, it wasn’t my egg rolls. It was my stalker.
Thankfully, my uncle, a Sergeant at the Chicago Police Department was able to scare this man away. Uncle Bill dropped by my stalker’s apartment and slipped his official, CPD business card under his door. When my stalker called Uncle Bill back later that day, Uncle Bill informed him that if he didn’t leave me alone, he would be experiencing the wrath of District 22. I am always grateful for Uncle Bill for helping resolve the scary situation I found myself in.
The Story of Chloe’s Stalker
Chloe’s stalker was not as easily scared away as mine. Chloe was a young, tall, thin, beautiful brunette. You could tell she was Southside. You could easily imagine her smoking a Newport and drinking a Bud Light at Kennedy Park on more than one Saturday night during high school.
But now, she was a professional in her mid-30s working in Human Resources at a high rise downtown. Her stalker was an executive for another company that rented commercial space in a high rise nearby. They met one night at a popular bar near work where professionals were known to hang out during happy hour. He seemed like a good man. He was older than her, handsome, salt and pepper hair, fit and most importantly single. One thing leads to another after a few too many cocktails.
Chloe and her stalker began seeing each other. Chloe always thought of their relationship as casual as they had never defined the relationship as anything more. They typically spent time together after work, maybe once a month or every other week, at most. She continued seeing other people and assumed he was too. She liked him but she could never see herself being in love with him or being in a long term, committed relationship with him. It wasn’t until she tried to break it off with him that he began to stalk her relentlessly.
Stalking comes in many different shapes and sizes. I would venture to guess that most women have experienced some form of stalking at one time in their lives. In today’s world, stalking is made easy with technology. It can come in the form of phone calls, text messages, following your location – whether that’s on Snapchat, Find my Friends, or more sophisticated ways of hacking into one’s phone. It can come in the form of tracking devices being placed on your car and being followed by your stalker through the ease of a phone application. It can also come in the “old-school” form of following you from a short, but frightening, distance away. Chloe experienced all of these forms of stalking.
Chloe told her stalker that she didn’t want to continue seeing him. She told him at first that she needed to focus on herself and her career but he wouldn’t accept that. So, then she told him that she started seeing someone else exclusively, which was true. At first, she thought he accepted this. He continued to stay in touch for the first couple of weeks after breaking things off and Chloe kept responding because she didn’t want to appear to be rude. As women, this concept gets ingrained in us at a very young age. Be polite, sweet, remember to smile, don’t be a bitch. This did not help Chloe’s situation and things escalated…
Chloe parked in a high rise parking garage adjacent to her work building everyday. She didn’t have an assigned parking spot and would pick which every spot was vacant at the time. Even with this hurdle, her stalker began leaving things on her car daily. Notes, gift cards, flowers., etc. You know what that means, right? He would have to circle the parking lot, searching, and searching for her car until he found it. Day after day. It’s important to note that her car wasn’t a lime green Mustang or anything just a simple blue Honda Accord.
Then, Chloe started getting the feeling that he was either tracking her or following her. One night, she was at her new boyfriend’s house when she received a Snapchat message from her stalker saying, “I thought you’d never be interested in a Cubs Fan.” Her new guy had the Cubs “W” flag mounted on the side of the house. A week later, Chloe traveled to California on a girls’ trip. The moment she landed back in Chicago and was able to turn her phone off airplane mode, she had a text from her stalker saying, “Do you want me to pick you up from O’Hare?” This was getting creepy.
A couple of weeks later, Chloe came home after a long day at work when she noticed her door was ajar, and her dresser drawers were opened and ransacked. The next morning, she walked out of the parking garage and he was standing at the parking garage door waiting for her. A few nights after that, Chloe stayed at her new boyfriend’s house, again. By this time, he had installed Ring video cameras around his house in an attempt to deter Chloe’s stalker. The next morning, Chloe received a text message from her boyfriend linking to his Ring camera video footage. The video shows her stalker pulling in front of the house, parking the car, opening the back gate, and entering the backyard toward the garage. Her stalker entered the garage, exiting about 10 minutes later with her boyfriend’s gym bag in hand. He threw her boyfriend’s gym bag inside his trunk, and took off. This is when she (and her boyfriend) really started to get scared.
So, she came to see me for help. I told her that we need to file something called an Emergency Order of Protection right away. We sat down together and filled out the Petition for an Order of Protection. In this document you must include all of the allegations in the Petition that you want the Judge to hear and consider. Anything that’s not included in the Petition cannot be heard by the Judge. Her case was so extensive and she had so many allegations, we included them on a separate affidavit which I had her get notarized.
The next day, we were at the clerk’s office filing the Petition and being transferred to the Domestic Violence Judge to be heard on the matter. An Emergency Order of Protection is an ex-parte hearing. That means that the other side, or the Respondent, is not given any notice that you filed the Petition and requested a hearing. Therefore, the other side, the Respondent, or in this case Chloe’s stalker, is not present while the Petitioner is presenting their testimony to the Judge. I presented Chloe’s testimony regarding all of the allegations of stalking and the nature of their relationship to the Judge through direct examination. The Judge entered the Emergency Order of Protection.
Before we left the courtroom, one of the Sheriff’s stopped us and advised Chloe to bring her vehicle to the nearest police station to be examined. Sure enough, an Air Tag was found underneath Chloe’s car. An Air Tag is a device that one can place on another’s car. The device is linked to an app on their phone that will tell them the location of the vehicle at all times.
Whenever an Emergency Order of Protection is entered, it is only in place for 21 days. The Emergency Order can prohibit the Respondent, Chloe’s stalker, from doing a number of things such as no contact by any means including phone calls, emails, text messages, social media messages, or messages from third parties. It can prohibit the Respondent from going to the Petitioner’s work, school, or home; entering or remaining within the home; staying away from their vehicles, pets, personal property; etc. Within the first 21 days, the Sheriff of the county where the Order of Protection is pending, attempts to serve the Respondent personally with a copy of the Emergency Order of Protection. The Emergency Order informs the Respondent of the next court date. If the Sheriff is successful in serving the Respondent, they will file an Affidavit of Service with the clerk’s office. If not, when the next court date comes up, the Emergency Order is in place for another 21 days and the Sheriff tries again.
After service, the Respondent must appear on the next court date. If the Respondent fails to appear on the next court date, a Plenary Order of Protection, one that is in place for a maximum of 2 years, will be entered on a default basis. If the Respondent appears but the Petitioner does not, then the Emergency Order of Protection will be terminated. If both parties appear, one or both can ask for time to hire an attorney and/or the case will be set for hearing to determine if a Plenary Order of Protection should be entered.
In Chloe’s case, her stalker appeared and asked for time to hire an attorney. The good news is that while the case is pending, the Emergency Order of Protection remains in place. The bad news is that the Emergency Order of Protection did not stop her stalker.
Chloe’s boyfriend encouraged her to get Ring video cameras and an alarm system in her home, which she did. The Ring videos showed multiple incidents of her stalker sitting outside of her house in his car, walking up to the house and peering through the windows. Chloe called the police and showed them the videos and begged the police to charge her stalker with Violations of the Emergency of Order of Protection, which are crimes. The first time is a Class A Misdemeanor, but repeated Violations of an Order of Protection can be charged as a felony. The police told her there was nothing they could do because her stalker wasn’t “entering” her home and there was no provision that said he couldn’t be within 500 feet of her or the home.
Finally, her stalker hired an attorney. Another beautiful, thin, brunette a couple years older than me. She was a bit more seasoned than myself and, to be honest, she intimidated me. She called me asking to settle the case. She asked if Chloe and I would be willing to enter into a separate written agreement that wouldn’t be entered by the Judge nor enforceable by the Judge that Chloe’s stalker wouldn’t contact her. Typically, I’m a big fan of settlement but in this case, I was not. I informed his attorney that unless they agree to enter a Plenary Order of Protection for the maximum, 2 years, with no contact provisions, 500 feet provisions, and a prohibition that he couldn’t be at her place of work or parking garage, we couldn’t agree. So, the attorney set the case for a hearing.
I then began sending her all of the discovery or evidence that I had and was planning on presenting at the hearing, including: the Ring video footage, subpoenas from the police officers called to her home, and the photos of the Air Tag and police report associated with that incident. I also sent her a list of witnesses, including her new boyfriend, who would testify at the hearing.
Once her attorney received and reviewed everything I sent, she called me and said they would agree to our terms. However, on the day of the hearing, the attorney sent her husband, also an attorney. Another tall, thin, handsome, brunette but not as seasoned as his wife. Not as familiar with the case as his wife. He attempted to negotiate some of the terms and asked that Chloe’s stalker be able to park in the same parking garage, that he be able to go to her high rise and that the foot provision be removed. I dug my heels in and said it’s all or a trial. I knew he wasn’t prepared to go to a hearing. Eventually, they caved and agreed to EVERY SINGLE TERM. Chloe was very relieved. I never heard from her after that but I assumed that her stalker finally left her alone.
If you or someone you know is being abused, stalked, harassed, or intimidated by their significant other, call DDT Law Group. We can help you.