A Liar’s Dream Medium: On Why Fraudulent Restraining Orders Are So Effective

Posted on July 8, 2013


vivid imaginationRestraining order allegations defy physics. They can self-sustain indefinitely fueled on nothing more than human credulity and their gratification of our appetite for the unseemly. They’re paid the same intently lurid curiosity as a wreck on the side of the road.

Auditors can’t avert their ears.

I read stories about the horrors endured by victims of false restraining orders every week, and I’d still listen with sensitivity to someone’s telling me s/he “had to get a restraining order.” It’s an irresistible impulse.

Just the phrase restraining order prompts a preconditioned reflex in the hearer. Live Pavlov’s dinner bell. It’s certainly one of the most prejudicial phrases in the English language, surpassing even “Beware of Dog.”

That’s why the restraining order offers liars a dream medium: whatever they write on one becomes “true.”

It’s that Pavlovian conditioning. We presume that someone who applies for a restraining order has a genuine need. Even police officers and judges, who encounter the unscrupulous and the scheming on a daily basis, take this for granted. They’ve been trained to. Hefty federal grants are provided to local police departments and courts in return for their mandating that their officers submit to that training and consent to accept allegations pursuant to obtaining a restraining order as factual.

And since restraining orders are approved by judges on the spot without the people whom they’re issued against even knowing about them, there aren’t any naysayers to interrupt or object to a liar’s allegations.

A fraud has a captive audience and can just let ’er rip.

The more outrageous a fraud’s lies, furthermore, the more effective they usually are. They’re not only that much likelier to bias police officers and judges but anyone else they’re told to. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, it’s assumed, and frauds who lie big blow a whole lot of smoke.

Counterintuitively, the broader the fraud, the more certain it is to go over.

Upon convincing a judge of his or her need for a restraining order—child’s play—a liar has an official document that says s/he’s a victim who’s weathered a grievous ordeal, and s/he can get even freer with the details when relating his or her “travail” to others. Say you “had to get a restraining order,” and all heads tilt in your direction, keen for the salacious details. Applying for a restraining order—which entails considerably less nuisance, for example, than applying for a driver’s license—creates a sensation (and waves of positive feedback and attention to nourish a liar’s ego).

And the damage to the liar’s victim is done possibly before s/he’s even had the restraining order brought to his or her attention.

To counteract a false restraining order requires that a recipient convince a second judge that the first one (his or her peer) screwed up or was hoodwinked. Not an obstacle easily surmounted. What a wanton fraud can accomplish in a 45-minute excursion to the courthouse may preoccupy and torment his or her victim for years to come.

A restraining order based on lies carefully, or even carelessly, stitched together is like Frankenstein’s monster: once a judge throws the switch, “It’s Alive!” And calamitous.

Unlike Frankenstein’s monster, burning a fraudulent restraining order won’t make it go away.

Copyright © 2013 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com