Monica Rhor of The Orange County Register surveyed all 58 California
counties and found widespread discrepancies in how the state's restraining
order laws are being enforced. The system has become a legal labyrinth in which rules aren't the same as reality, procedures differ from courthouse to courthouse, and violators often benefit more than victims. "Eleven counties, including Orange, require the person requesting a restraining order to give advance notice to the person from whom they are seeking protection. Such a warning can inflame an already combustible relationship, or help abusers avoid being served with the order." The investigation also found that tens of thousands of restraining orders issued throughout the state are invalid because they were never served. And no county has a mechanism for seizing guns or making sure they are surrendered as required by law. The flaws in the system have led to one tragic consequence after another as detailed in this two-part series.