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Circuit Court District Division - Domestic Violence Case Protocols

Introduction and Acknowledgements

This is the fourth iteration of the Domestic Violence Protocols. In 1994, the District Court first issued a comprehensive and far reaching protocol for handling domestic violence cases throughout New Hampshire. Spawned by the growing caseload and need for consistency in handling these cases, the protocol became the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary set of guidelines for addressing domestic violence in New Hampshire. The protocols were revised again in 2002 and have been reprinted and distributed to hundreds upon hundreds of professionals throughout the State.

In the fourteen years that have transpired, RSA 173-B (our Protection of Persons from Domestic Violence statute) has changed significantly, as have federal laws regarding such issues as the interstate enforcement of protection orders. The New Hampshire Supreme Court has also begun to develop a body of case law on domestic violence and stalking. Annually, the District Courts and Family Division are now hearing approximately 8,000 requests for domestic violence protective orders and stalking cases.

Producing a manual such as this cannot happen without administrative assistance. We greatly appreciate the assistance of Judge Kelly’s Office in Concord, and Marge Therrien of that office in particular.

Throughout this process we have sought to maintain the delicate balance of constitutional safeguards so fundamental to our system of justice, for in the end, it is this proper balance which is the hallmark of our system of government. These protocols, we hope, will be viewed and used by judicial officers and court personnel as a "best practices" manual. Any time the word judge is used, it may refer to a judge or marital master; we have used the term judge to refer to any judicial officer. We recognize that not every scenario could be contemplated, and that the facts of each individual case must guide the court through the decision making process. We hope the protocols will be helpful in understanding and applying the law. As always, the reader’s comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Honorable Edwin W. Kelly 

Honorable Susan B. Carbon

Attorney Elizabeth Paine

Note:  The symbol  PDF Document Symbol indicates that the files are in Adobe Acrobat format. To download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, go to http://www.adobe.com. Users should be advised that these files are lengthy.
A. Purpose 1
B. Impartiality 1
C. Notice of Allegations 1
D. Defendant’s Opportunity to Be Heard 2
E. Evidentiary Hearing 2
F. Distinctions Between Orders Issued Under RSA 173-B and RSA 458 and RSA 461-A 2
Introduction 3
A. Definitions of Domestic Violence 3
B. Who May File a Petition
Protocol 2-1  
4
C. Additional Persons Protected by Certain Restraining Orders
Protocol 2-2  
6
Introduction 7
Protocols 3-1 through 3-3   7
Introduction 9
A. Which County or District?
Protocols 4-1 through 4-5
9
B. Transfer to Another District Court
Protocols 4-6 through 4-8
10
C. Transfer to the Superior Court For Non-Family Division Counties
Protocols 4-9 through 4-13
11
Introduction 13
A. General Staff Responsibilities
Protocols 5-1 through 5-12
13
B. Conduct of Hearing
Protocols 5-13 through 5-17
15
C. Proof Required
Protocols 5-18 through 5-21
16
D. Orders Available
Protocol 5-22
17
E. Permissible Contact
Introduction
Protocols 5-23 through 5-24
19
F. Instructions to the Plaintiff for the Final Hearing
Protocol 5-25
19
G. Scheduling a Final Hearing
Introduction
Protocols 5-26 through 5-30
20
Introduction 23
A. Service of Process upon the Defendant
Protocols 6-1 through 6-8
23
B. Defendant's Answer
Protocols 6-9 through 6-10
24
C. Amendments to the Plaintiff’s Petition
Protocol 6-11
25
Introduction 27
A. Courtroom Security
Protocols 7-1 through 7-3  
27
B. Conduct of Hearing
Protocols 7-4 through 7-9
27
C. Evidence
Protocols 7-10 and 7-11
28
D. Duration
Protocol 7-12
28
E. Firearms
Protocol 7-13
28
F. Relief Available 29
G. Protective Orders
Protocols 7-14 through 7-15
29
H. Other Relief 30
I. Division of Property
Protocols 7-16 through 7-19
30
J. Custody and Visitation
Protocols 7-20 through 7-23
31
K. Child Support
Protocols 7-24 through 7-26
32
L. Counseling
Protocols 7-27 and 7-28
32
M. Compensatory Damages
Protocol 7-29
33
N. Addendum to Final Orders
Protocol 7-30
33
O. Precedence of Final Court Orders
Protocol 7-31
33
P. Judicial Instructions to the Parties
Protocol 7-32
34
Q. Notification to the Defendant
Protocol 7-33
35
R. Mutual Restraining Orders and Cross-Orders for Relief
Protocols 7-34 and 7-35
35
S. Issuance of Final Orders
Protocols 7-36 and 7-37
36
T. Appeals
Protocols 7-38 and 7-39
36
A. Failure to Prosecute and Dismissal by the Court
Protocols 8-1 through 8-3
37
B. Withdrawals of Protective Orders
Protocols 8-4 through 8-8
37
A.

Modifications
Introduction
Protocols 9-1 through 9-6

39
B. Extension of Orders
Protocols 9-7 through 9-13
40
Introduction 43
A. Jurisdiction of the Family Division 43
B. Types of Contempt 44
1.  Civil Contempt  
2.  Criminal Contempt  
C. Criminal Contempt
Protocols 10-1 through 10-2
44
D. Civil Contempt
Protocols 10-3 through 10-9
44
Introduction
Protocols 11-1 through 11-4
47
A. Bail Forms
Protocol 12-1
49
B.  Guidelines for Issuing Bail and Criminal Protective Orders Pending arraignment 49
1. Introduction
Protocols 12-2 through 12-6
 
C.  Entry of Orders by Bail Commissioners
Protocol 12-7
51
D.  Bail Considerations at Arraignment
Protocols 12-8 through 12-15
51
E.  Bail Pending Appeal
Protocol 12-16
53
F. Victim Notification of Bail Orders
Protocol 12-17
53
G. Use of the Domestic Violence Registry
Protocols 12-18 through 12-20
53
A. Charging
Protocols 13-1 and 13-2
55
B. Sentencing
Protocols 13-3 through 13-6 
55
C. Scheduling
Protocol 13-7
56
D. Acknowledgment of Rights/Recording
Protocol 13-8
56
Introduction 57
General Definitions 57
A. Relinquishment Overview 58
B. Reconciling New Hampshire State Law and Federal Law 59
1. Emergency Telephonic Orders
Protocol 14-1
59
2. Notice to Victims
Protocol 14-2
59
3. Temporary Orders
Protocols 14-3 through 14-8
59
4. Final Orders
Protocols 14-9 through 14-12
60
5. Violations
Protocol 14-13
61
C. Storage
Protocols 14-14 through 14-17
61
D. Return of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Deadly Weapons 62
1. Defendant’s Request
Protocols 14-18 through 14-23
62
2. Scope of Hearing
Protocol 14-24
63
3. Grounds for Denial of Return of Firearms and Ammunition
Protocol 14-25 
63
a. Federal Prohibitions
Protocols 14-26 and 14-28
64
b. State Prohibitions
Protocol 14-29
65
4. Grounds for Denial of Deadly Weapons
Protocol 14-30
65
5. Conduct of Hearing
Protocols 14-31 through 14-38
65
6. Requests of Third parties
Protocol 14-39
66
Introduction 67
A. Protocol for Enforcement of Foreign Protective Orders
Protocols 15-1 through 15-2
68
B. Protocol for Registration of Foreign Protective Orders
Protocols 15-3 through 15-6
69
C. Protocols for the Issuance of New Hampshire Protective Orders
Protocol 15-7
71
Introduction 73
A. Goal of Services 73
B. Types of Visitation 73
1. Monitored Exchanges
Protocols 16-1 and 2
73
2. Semi-Supervised Visits On-Site
Protocol 16-3
73
3. Fully Supervised On-Site Visits
Protocol 16-4
73
C. Court Orders
Protocols 16-5 through 16-9
74
D. Setting and Collecting Fees
Protocol 16-10
75
E. Resources 75
Introduction 77
A. Transmittal of The Protective Order to the Registry
Protocols 17-1 through 17-3
78
B. Types of Orders 78
1. Civil Protective Orders  
2. Criminal Protective Orders  
C. Civil Orders
Protocols 17-4 through 17-8
78
D. Criminal Orders
Protocols 17-9 through 17-12
80
E. Foreign Protective Orders
Protocols 17-13
80
F. Assigning a Protective Order Number 80
  1. Civil Protective Orders
Protocols 17-14 through 17-15
81
  2. Criminal Protective Orders
Protocols 17-16 through 17-17
81
G. Proper Completion of the First Page of the Order and Defendant Information Sheet
Protocol 17-18
81
H. FAXBACK System
Protocols 17-19 through 17-20
82
Introduction 83
A.

Eligibility to Apply for a Stalking Protective Order
Protocol 18-1

83
B.

Commencement of Proceedings
Protocols 18-2 through 18-11

83
C.

Issuing the Stalking Protective Order
Protocols 18-12 through 18-14

86
D.

Notification and Service
Protocols 18-15 and 18-17

87
E.

Enforcement of Stalking Orders
Protocol 18-18

87
F.

Bail Issues
Protocol 18-19

87
A.

General
Protocols 19-1 through 19-4

89
B. Definition of Services 89
C.

Referral Process
Protocols 19-5 through 19-6

90
A. Administrative Order for Judicial Branch Family Division and District Court
B. “Role of the Advocate,” by Linda Griebsch
C. New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence-Crisis Center List
D. Criteria for Visitation Recommendations - N.H. Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence Sub-Committee on Supervised Visitation

 

This project was supported by Grant #2006-WF-AX-0074 by the Violence Against Women Grants, Office of Justice Programs, U. S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U. S. Department of Justice.

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