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Senate panel advances bill on judicial protective orders

The Senate Judiciary Committee has endorsed legislation that would make it easier to get a judge to overturn a protective order.

The committee also advanced a bill that would make protective orders applicable to any suspected stalker, not just somebody with whom the petitioner has lived.A Salt Lake woman told Judiciary Chairman Sen. Craig Taylor, R-Kaysville, that her husband put her into the hospital with a broken foot and then sought a protective order against her.

The woman was unable to return to her house. She was arrested and put in jail for three days when she got too close to the house, even though her husband had moved away. A judge did not hear the case for 20 days.

"I lost my home and all my possessions and all my income," she said. "It was a living nightmare."

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Larson, D-Ogden, allows the targets of protective orders to make a motion before a judge for an expedited hearing.

Another bill sent to the Senate Monday, sponsored by Rep. J. Brent Haymond, R-Springville, allows the non-cohabitant victims of stalking to seek a temporary injunction against the offending person.

The aggressors must have demonstrated a threat or an implied threat before he or she can be considered a stalker, Haymond said.