The defendant cannot be made to release any possessions, including money, property, checks, keys and other belongings, without a court order directing the person (or jailer) to remove such items. Most Judges will not address the release of property since they consider it a civil matter, out of their jurisdiction.
In New Jersey, appellate judges have expressed concern about frivolousrestraining orders based on claims of verbal abuse: a man calling his estranged wife to tell her he would take "drastic measures" if she didn't paythe household bills -- by which he meant having the phone disconnected -- or a husband repeatedly saying to his wife that he no longer loved her and was going to get a divorce. After several such orders were overturned on appeal four years ago, the number of restraining orders issued statewide dropped by about 20 percent.
Nor is there any evidence that an effort to curb frivolous restraining orderswill endanger lives. When the courts in New Jersey began to issue fewerrestraining orders as a result of appellate rulings that tightened thedefinition of domestic violence (excluding verbal abuse without persistentharassment or threats), an outcry from battered women's advocates was quick to follow -- but a rise in the domestic homicide rate was not. 2b1af7f3a8