Stop False Allegations of Domestic Violence to WIN Child Custody!
“On the European continent, for the court to hold against the defendant, the judge must be convinced that the facts brought forward by the plaintiff in support of the claim are indeed true. In principle, continental law does not make a difference between civil law and criminal law […]. By contrast, U.S. law has three different standards of proof […]. In criminal law, the charge must be established ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ In civil law, normally the plaintiff wins if only ‘the preponderance of the evidence’ is in [his or] her favour. Only in a limited number of civil law matters, of particular gravity for the defendant, the intermediate standard of ‘clear and convincing evidence’ must be met.”
—Dr. Cristoph Engel
The monograph from which this quotation is excerpted, which is by a professor of experimental law and economics, begins by candidly remarking that “American law is irresponsible.”
No argument here.
At the root of restraining order injustice is the lax evidentiary standard applied to plaintiffs’ allegations. Not only may allegations on restraining orders be false; a judge doesn’t have to be convinced that they’re not false to find in favor of their plaintiff.
Excepting in Maryland, which adjudicates the merits of civil restraining order allegations based on the intermediate standard of “clear and convincing evidence,” the standard applied to restraining orders is “preponderance of the evidence.”
If claims seem more likely true than false, “preponderance of the evidence” is satisfied.
In other words, the law is contented if a single judge (not a jury of independent thinkers) reckons the allegations against a defendant are “probably true” (or “maybe true” or “true enough”). To be effective, all allegations have to be is compelling.
Making allegations compelling isn’t a tall task for people in the throes of bitter animosity, as restraining order plaintiffs typically are, and it’s a cakewalk for unscrupulous liars, who are hardly rare among restraining order plaintiffs
From “A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You” by Alan M. Dershowitz (The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2015):
Imagine the following situation: You’re a 76-year-old man, happily married for nearly 30 years, with three children and two grandchildren. You’ve recently retired after 50 years of teaching at Harvard Law School. You have an unblemished personal record, though your legal and political views are controversial. You wake up on the day before New Year’s Eve to learn that two lawyers have filed a legal document that, in passing, asserts that 15 years ago you had sex on numerous occasions and in numerous locations with an underage female.
The accusation doesn’t mention the alleged victim’s name—she’s referred to as Jane Doe…
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