Forthcoming posts on this blog will consider character assassination, and they will critique one of the many execrable ironies of the civil restraining order process. It is possible to falsely accuse a person of anything—literally anything (mooning the neighbors, groping children, chewing the ears off of puppies, rape, you name it)—and the act of false accusation, which is universally deemed a statutory crime (perjury), is not sanctioned by the court. The falsely accused, what’s more, cannot litigate the crime of perjury him- or herself nor apply to the court for relief from the falsehoods or an award for the damages they do, which may include PTSD, loss of home, and financial ruin. But…but if the falsely accused exercises his or her constitutionally protected right to free speech and exposes his or her false accuser, which is his or her only lawful defense (and a feeble one at that), this act may paradoxically be construed as “character assassination” by state prosecutors and judges. This post will ease into the topic of character assassination gently.
An alternative way of understanding the pains inflicted by false accusation, if you’re among the compassionately challenged, is to consider the complaints of those accused of falsely accusing.
They don’t like it much when the table is turned.
A woman I’m in correspondence with and have written about was accused of abuse on a petition for a protection order last year by a scheming long-term domestic partner, a man who’d seemingly been thrilled by the prospect of publicly ruining her and having her tossed to the curb with nothing but the clothes on her back. He probably woke up each morning to find his pillow saturated with drool.
The woman he accused, meanwhile, probably didn’t sleep at all during the weeks of purgatory between the accusation and her hearing. For a while, she had to worry about where she’d be able to sleep.
She successfully had the protection order dismissed and has since publicly exposed her false accuser. She’s also filed a lawsuit and endeavors to have the laws in her state amended so people like her ex face consequences for defrauding the court (which at present they never do…anywhere). After her exoneration in court, she says her ex starting circulating it around town that she tried to kill him.
Now her former boyfriend complains that the stir she’s caused by expressing her outrage in public media is affecting his business, and he reportedly wants to obtain a restraining order to shut her up…for exposing his last attempt to get a restraining order…which was based on fraud.
He feels defamed, you see.
Public exposure is not the same thing as being put on the legal rack, but, oh, how those outed for lying will snivel and pule. They expected their testimony would be neatly kept under wraps, and it’s just…not…fair!
Anyone who doubts or misconceives the torments of legal abuse need only look to the whiners who object to being revealed as its perpetrators to be disabused of illusion.
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*First Amendment advocate Matthew Chan, who recently prevailed in a protection order appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court, keeps a constant vigil over what’s said about him by his own accuser, who reportedly began a social media campaign to reboot the conflict after the court ruled against her.