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Q: Restraining Order ( Answered,   10 Comments )
Subject: Restraining Order
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: jjt123-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 25 Jul 2005 13:17 PDT
Expires: 24 Aug 2005 13:17 PDT
Question ID: 547742
If I already have a restraining order against my ex-girlfriend here in
California and she harasses me while I am studying abroad in Paris,
France this fall semester, could I charge/convict her with a breach of the
restraining order when I returned home in December even though it
happened in another country a month or two prior?
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
Answered By: hagan-ga on 03 Aug 2005 14:32 PDT
I'm afraid not.  A state can only punish acts that either occur in its
territory, or whose detrimental effects extend into its territory.

"The scope of a state's criminal jurisdiction is generally restricted
to its territory."

"A State cannot punish a defendant for conduct that may have been
lawful where it occurred....Nor, as a general rule, does a State have
a legitimate concern in imposing punitive damages to punish a
defendant for unlawful acts committed outside of the State?s
_State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell_ (2003) 538 U.S. 408, 425

The only possible basis for the Court to have jurisdiction over acts
that took place in France would be for those acts to have had
detrimental effects in California.
"Acts done outside a jurisdiction, but intended to produce and
producing detrimental effects within it, justify a state in punishing
the cause of the harm as if he had been present at the effect, if the
state should succeed in getting him within its power."  _Strassheim v.
Daily_ (1911) 221 U.S. 280, 285

For example, if you are in California and she is in France, and she
calls you in California in violation of the order -- THEN you could
potentially bring an Order to Show Cause re Contempt for the
violation, IF she were to return to California at some point.  (She
has to return to California in order for the court to obtain
jurisdiction over her person -- not the same as having jurisdiction
over the conduct.)  But where the conduct in question takes place
wholly within the confines of another sovereign state, and has no
detrimental effects in California, then California simply has no
jurisdiction to punish it.
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Jul 2005 17:34 PDT
To avoid duplication of effort, Researchers may want to review the
information provided here:
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: ilmag-ga on 26 Jul 2005 08:40 PDT
I read the other thread, and I would say that the answer of "no" is
bold given that (assumed) no one has read the restraining order.  It
may be enforcable in California for violations in France.  The good
attorney answer is "it depends."
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: tutuzdad-ga on 26 Jul 2005 09:17 PDT
There's nothing bold about it. It's simply a fact. Consider this from
an immigration lawyer:

"Generally, a battered immigrant will meet the extreme hardship test
if she proves that her abuser is able to travel to her country of
origin, that she will be in danger due to the loss of her U.S.
restraining order when she travels outside the U.S..."

"Restraining orders are not valid outside the territory of the U.S.,
which makes battered immigrants vulnerable to abuse the moment they
leave the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts."
[footnote credits the quote and references a document hosted by the US
House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary]
IMMIGRATION DAILY,0721-Orloff.shtm

I'm sure this will chum the waters for more comments from a lawyer.
For some reason my invovlement often does. The fact ramains though
that the question has already been soundly answered.

Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: justaskscott-ga on 26 Jul 2005 09:32 PDT
With respect to statements made in response to this and the previous
question on the subject, the disclaimer at the bottom of this page
notes that answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general
information, and are not intended to substitute for informed
professional legal advice.  (Since no one had noted that yet, I
thought it would be worthwhile to do so.)
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: tutuzdad-ga on 26 Jul 2005 09:35 PDT
Yes, good point. After getting an answer here the only remaining
option is to consult a lawyer.
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: ilmag-ga on 03 Aug 2005 12:44 PDT
The question was whether a California court would enforce a California
restraining order in California that is violated in France.  That is a
question of law for the California court to decide.  I concede that it
will not likely be given effect in France and is not likely
enforceable in France, but that doesn't answer his question.

jjt123 - You should consult an attorney who is a member of the California Bar.
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: myoarin-ga on 03 Aug 2005 13:37 PDT
The original question was about how to protect jjt123-ga from
harassment while in France, which would seem to be a prime concern.
This question is about the chance of charging the ex-girlfriend  - if
she did harass -  in California later on.  If this is possible  - and
she believed it -  maybe that would influence her to save the expense
and risk.
But it seems that nothing short of a letter to her from a lawyer or
maybe the court would be convincing.
If such a letter is not a possibility, because no one wants to risk a
statement, or if
she still goes ahead and harasses, JJT is not protected until he flies
home, hardly a satisfactory situation.
What credence would a Cal. court give to a claim of harassment in
France?  What proof would it accept?

The problem is back to where it was before.

Pity the G-A isn't as strong on French law.
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: ilmag-ga on 04 Aug 2005 06:51 PDT
myoarin - that is why it is important to read the TRO.  How long is it
to last?  What constitutes a breach of the order?  What behavior does
it restrain?  There are a lot of questions to be asked before his
question could ever be answered, most of which would be on the face of
the TRO.

In short (and for $25), it would be hard to get an attorney to even
talk to you, much less take your case.  However, if you went to a
conflict of laws professor, he might be interested in it for academic
purposes and want to try the case.  Good luck!

Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: hagan-ga on 04 Aug 2005 07:07 PDT
Ilmag, ordinarily I would agree with you that the language of the
order is important -- but not when determining an issue of
jurisdiction.  It doesn't matter what the order proscribes, if the
conduct takes place where the court has no power to proscribe it.
Subject: Re: Restraining Order
From: ilmag-ga on 04 Aug 2005 12:09 PDT
I agree that the court cannot proscribe conduct in a foreign (not
U.S.) state, but the face of the TRO may still have a reaching effect
under the detrimental effects test.  Therefore, the answer is not
"no."  A good answer would have been "it depends" and would have
included what constitutes a detrimental effect in California.

Please note - I am just making comments and not attempting to answer
any legal questions.  You should seek the advice of a licensed
attorney in the state you wish to seek remedies.

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