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Lugo v. Corona summary

 

Lugo v. Corona published 5-28-19

 

Snippet: The existence of a criminal protective order is not a bar to the issuance of a DVRO.

 

In a unanimous decision, the Second Appellate District of California has made clear that the existence of a criminal protective order does not prohibit the entry of a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) covering the same parties.

 

Factual Background

 

In August 2017, Adali Lugo requested a DVRO for protection from Moises Corona. In her petition, Lugo detailed a confrontation between the pair in which she slapped Corona and he grabbed her by the neck and pushed her down on a sofa. Lugo alleged that Corona threatened to strangle and kill her “a couple of times” if she “dare[d] to do something against him.”

 

Following this incident, a criminal protective order, which prohibited Corona from contacting Lugo or coming in within 100 yards of her, was put into place. Under the three-year order, Corona could also not approach the family home.

 

Thereafter, Corona filed a DVRO request that included her mother and two teenage sons as well as a directive that Corona stay away from their 10- and 6-year-old’s school and leave the family home.

 

Trial Court’s Order

 

Based on the DVRO request, the family court issued a temporary restraining order, but all of the requested protections listed were “denied until the hearing.”

 

During the subsequent hearing, the judge remarked, “I don’t see any reason for me to make this order because you have that criminal protective order that takes priority over anything I do anyway.” Because the parties were also attempting to work out a visitation schedule, Lugo requested that the family court reduce the criminal protective order to one year, but the judge replied that only the court that had issued that order could change it.  Corona appealed the trial court’ refusal to grant her a DVRO. 

 

Decision on Appeal

 

On appeal, the appellate court turned to the text of the Family Code’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), which states that “remedies provided in this division are in addition to any other civil or criminal remedies that may be available to the petitioner.” The plain language of the statute, the court noted, makes clear that “criminal and civil protective orders may coexist and address the same parties.”

 

The court then turned to the Penal Code, which acknowledged the same principle, and pointed out that the state legislature has also made “consistent and repeated efforts to ensure the courts utilize all available tools . . . to safeguard victims of domestic abuse.”

 

Based on both Family Code and Penal Code provisions as well as legislative intent, the appellate court ruled that criminal and civil protective orders that apply to the same parties may exist simultaneously.

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Dennis Temko, Esq.

Law Office of Stephen Temko
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