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New State Law Creates More Bills in Tennessee


Last week, a local judge based in Hamilton County, Tennessee, questioned a new state law brought into effect by the Tennessee Attorney General's office. He said the new state law forces him to bill for orders of protection; however, in many cases, these are laws of protection that people don't want.

Since Jan. 1, 2017, victims needed to apply for an order of protection themselves before it was billed to the state. However, because of this law, anytime a person is charged with aggravated domestic assault, magistrate judges must create an order of protection automatically.

Out of the 377 orders of protection that have been filed between Jan. 1 and June 1, 2017, 197 of them have been dismissed. The judge wrote to the deputy attorney, "In at least 98 percent of the cases since January 1, 2017, there has either been a 'no-show' or the victim has said that he or she told the officer that he or she did not want an order of protection."

However, this law has been issued as an attempt to assist victims of domestic violence. Often, victims of domestic violence are in positions where they are reluctant to reach out for protections themselves. A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's report conducted in 2015 said that 270 people were killed as a result of domestic violence between 2012 and 2014.

The law was originally put in place with good intentions -- to provide automated protections for victims of domestic violence. But many people, from lawyers to the victims themselves, are finding that the law is having a clogging effect.

Source: Times free press, "Local judge questions new state law that creates more bills for Hamilton County," Zack Peterson, Aug. 14, 2017