Maryland Joins National Movement to Standardize Protective Orders,
Aid Police and Provide Uniform Safety Net for Victims and Families
(ANNAPOLIS, MD — December 28, 2007) Starting January 1, 2008, the Maryland Judiciary will join a national movement to standardize protective orders by issuing and enforcing a new uniform first page.
The revised front page of interim, temporary, and permanent protective orders will now provide the most critical data for issuing and enforcing the orders. The National Center for State Courts is working to standardize the national template for every state, territory, and tribe through an initiative called, “Project Passport.”
“This is a tremendous first step toward creating uniform protective orders to help simplify a document that provides a safety net for victims of abuse and their families,” said Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
“The new national template will also help Maryland victims receive similar protection in other states and allow Maryland law enforcement to protect out-of-state victims more readily,” Judge Bell said.
Currently, there are more than 11,000 variations of protective orders across the country. The orders can be difficult to enforce because of their length and wording. Added to that problem is the challenge of enforcing out-of-state protective orders.
The national template moves the 10 most critical pieces of information from other parts of the order to the first page. These 10 “points of similarity” include:
- The name of the particular order
- Basic petitioner information
- Respondent information, especially the relationship to the petitioner
- Respondent identifiers to help determine the person with whom police officers come in contact
- A “weapon involved” box, a new feature that has been added nationally
- The court order, including the no-contact provision – the most common violation in out-of-state orders
- An expiration date for the order
Maryland joins 10 states, the District of Columbia, and numerous Indian tribes that have adopted the national template, while others are working toward adopting it.
“What is important to emphasize is that only the look of the protective orders will change, nothing concerning the service and enforcement of Maryland and out-of-sate protective orders will change,” Judge Bell said.
Until the current Maryland orders expire – which will take more than a year in some cases – police officers will encounter two different- looking first pages. “But both of them will be equally valid and enforceable,” Judge Bell said.
For more information on the national program for protective orders, visit the National Center for State Courts Web site at http://www.ncsconline.org.
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