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  1. #1
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    209a in Massachusetts: Can someone explain terminated, vacated, and expunged?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Massachusetts

    What is the difference between having a 209a restraining order terminated, vacated, and expunged? And does that have to occur at the same hearing when the order is terminated?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Founder View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Massachusetts

    What is the difference between having a 209a restraining order terminated, vacated, and expunged? And does that have to occur at the same hearing when the order is terminated?
    Termination of a 209a domestic restraining order would mean that the order ceased to be operative or in force by its own terms, that is, its period of effectiveness expired.

    Vacating such an order suggests that the respondent was able to show cause that the order was unnecessary or has become moot for some reason.

    Expunging such an order requires clear and convincing evidence that it was secured fraudulently.


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    Quote Originally Posted by latigo View Post
    Termination of a 209a domestic restraining order would mean that the order ceased to be operative or in force by its own terms, that is, its period of effectiveness expired.

    Vacating such an order suggests that the respondent was able to show cause that the order was unnecessary or has become moot for some reason.

    Expunging such an order requires clear and convincing evidence that it was secured fraudulently.

    Do vacating and expunging have to take place at the same hearing as when the order is terminated? Or can a 209a order be vacated or expunged well after the termination hearing?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Founder View Post
    Do vacating and expunging have to take place at the same hearing as when the order is terminated? Or can a 209a order be vacated or expunged well after the termination hearing?
    First, here is a link to your previous thread so readers have background information:

    Mentally Ill Roommate Files Malicious Restraining Order in Massachusetts

    Second, I assume from your questions here that you did not seek out assistance as advised earlier. You really should think about doing so now.

    To get an order of protection vacated, the best time to do that is at the first hearing that decides whether to make the temporary ex-parte order a permanent order. To have the temporary order vacated, you needed to convince the court that ALL of the allegations made by the petitioner were false. The court could have then vacated the order.

    To terminate an order of protection that has already been issued, look at the order. Some orders of protection have expiration dates and, if the petitioner chooses not to seek an extension of the order., the order dies its own natural death.

    Without a termination date, you can petition the court for termination. You (generally) need to show a change of circumstances that makes the order of protection no longer necessary. However, in MacDonald v. Caruso, 467 Mass. 382 (2014), the Court said that, "the significant change in circumstances must involve more than the mere passage of time, because a judge who issued a permanent order knows that time will pass. Compliance by the defendant with the order is also not sufficient alone to constitute a significant change in circumstances, because a judge who issued a permanent order is entitled to expect that the defendant will comply with the order."

    An expungement is going to be difficult. As latigo said, expungement may rest entirely on showing the order was obtained through fraudulent means. The Court said in Commissioner of Probation v. Adams, 65 Mass. App.Ct. 725,843 NE2d 1101 (2006), that an expungement is possible if, "the judge has found through clear and convincing evidence that the order was obtained through fraud on the court."

    If you are hoping to have all records of the domestic violence order of protection issued against you removed from the State databases, you should (as has been oft-repeated) seek out legal assistance in your area. The Boston area in general, and your university in particular, have resources available to you.


    Last edited by quincy; 09-12-2017 at 02:17 PM.
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    Please answer the following questions quoted below. I will clarify.

    These are my current questions:

    Do vacating and expunging have to take place at the same hearing as when the order is terminated?
    Or can a 209a order be vacated or expunged well after the termination hearing?

    Feel free to just answer or if context is needed, see below.

    Context: There is an upcoming court date, let's say September 13th, as there always is when a 209a expires. Both parties will be there. The plaintiff asking for another extension. The defendant asking for the order to be lifted. So let's say the judge decides to let the 209a terminate on the 13th and the defendant doesn't make a motion to vacate or expunge on the 13th, will the defendant have a chance to vacate or expunge the 209a later on? Please let me know if this question make sense.

    (Also please ignore any background from the longest post on this thread. It's not necessary and will only confuse/complicate.)


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Founder View Post
    These are my current questions:

    Do vacating and expunging have to take place at the same hearing as when the order is terminated?
    Or can a 209a order be vacated or expunged well after the termination hearing?

    Feel free to just answer or if context is needed, see below.

    Context: There is an upcoming court date, let's say September 13th, as there always is when a 209a expires. Both parties will be there. The plaintiff asking for another extension. The defendant asking for the order to be lifted. So let's say the judge decides to let the 209a terminate on the 13th and the defendant doesn't make a motion to vacate or expunge on the 13th, will the defendant have a chance to vacate or expunge the 209a later on? Please let me know if this question make sense.

    (Also please ignore any background from the longest post on this thread. It's not necessary and will only confuse/complicate.)
    Your suggestion to ignore the background information provided in the link to your first thread should be ignored. It is information important to understanding your situation and how willing you are to consider the advice offered you on this site.

    You should have learned the answers to the questions you ask now if you had seriously considered the advice offered you previously.

    Should the order of protection be extended because the defendant presents no reasons why it should be lifted, the chances of getting the records expunged later are slimmer than they might otherwise be - and the chances of getting an expungement are not great to begin with.

    If the order is extended and there is no end date for the order (a date when it will expire on its own), terminating the order without a substantial change of circumstances will also be difficult.

    See an attorney in your area for advice and direction.


    Last edited by quincy; 09-12-2017 at 04:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Founder View Post
    These are my current questions:

    Do vacating and expunging have to take place at the same hearing as when the order is terminated?
    Or can a 209a order be vacated or expunged well after the termination hearing?

    Feel free to just answer or if context is needed, see below.

    Context: There is an upcoming court date, let's say September 13th, as there always is when a 209a expires. Both parties will be there. The plaintiff asking for another extension. The defendant asking for the order to be lifted. So let's say the judge decides to let the 209a terminate on the 13th and the defendant doesn't make a motion to vacate or expunge on the 13th, will the defendant have a chance to vacate or expunge the 209a later on? Please let me know if this question make sense.

    (Also please ignore any background from the longest post on this thread. It's not necessary and will only confuse/complicate.)
    I practice in Massachusetts District Court. I have NEVER seen a 209A expunged.

    I'm using "him" and "her" for purposes of convenience. "He" is the plaintiff and "she" is the defendant.

    Assuming he says "she hit me on Tuesday, so I'm afraid of her", the only way to get it expunged would be to PROVE that you didn't hit him on Tuesday, and that he lied. So unless you were far enough away that it would have been impossible for you to hit him on Tuesday, or you have a 24 hour recording of yourself from Tuesday, you're not going to produce clear and convincing evidence.

    As I wrote on the other thread, a 209A does NOT show up on a CORI. The probation department will have a record of it (on your "BOP" - Board of Probation record), and the local police will have a copy.

    So, to answer your question, sure, you can ask for the order to be expunged on the 13th. I'd wager large sums of money that it won't happen, but you can always ask.


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    Nice post, Stevef. ^^^

    The records are also available for the purposes of licensing in certain fields (medical, legal, education/child care, law enforcement).

    I believe Founder's concern is with medical licensing.

    He really should have heeded, and he should still heed, the advice to get legal assistance in his area. Trying to handle this on his own could be a big mistake.

    Reporting my previous (now-replaced) post was also a mistake on his part.


    Last edited by quincy; 09-12-2017 at 05:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Nice post, Stevef. ^^^

    The records are also available for the purposes of licensing in certain fields (medical, legal, education/child care, law enforcement).
    I'm not arguing, but looking for information.

    Can you point to a citation that the existence of a 209A is available to anyone outside court/law enforcement?

    It seems to me that disclosure to anyone else would be in violation of G.L. c. 209A § 8 (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A/Section8)

    Reporting my previous (now-replaced) post was also a mistake on his part.
    Today in court, a lawyer yelled at the clerk for not calling his case. That didn't end well for him either.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevef View Post
    I'm not arguing, but looking for information.

    Can you point to a citation that the existence of a 209A is available to anyone outside court/law enforcement?

    It seems to me that disclosure to anyone else would be in violation of G.L. c. 209A § 8 (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A/Section8)
    You didn't mention that the plaintiff or defendant was a minor.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevef View Post
    I'm not arguing, but looking for information.

    Can you point to a citation that the existence of a 209A is available to anyone outside court/law enforcement?

    It seems to me that disclosure to anyone else would be in violation of G.L. c. 209A § 8 (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A/Section8)



    Today in court, a lawyer yelled at the clerk for not calling his case. That didn't end well for him either.
    Here is a link to the "Guidelines for Judicial Practice, Abuse Prevention Proceedings." The guidelines are from September 2011 and there may have been revisions since this was published.

    http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/209a...lines-2011.pdf

    See "Public Access to 209A Case Files" under section 1:05.

    Information is generally redacted and there are exceptions for minors.


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    OP...laymans view...if you are in or expect to be in some field where a 209A falling out of woodwork could bite you at some inopportune moment ...you want legal counsel NOW . AT least to this layman, it seems points you might make now to get it lifted could be the very points that later make it all but impossible to get tossed as fraudulent

    Your odds go downhill fast absent counsel like NOW.

    From my HR days, we used checkout firm that literally was a CIA alumni club ....and lots of stuff comes out of woodwork never mind what law says can be checked . .


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HRZ View Post
    OP...laymans view...if you are in or expect to be in some field where a 209A falling out of woodwork could bite you at some inopportune moment ...you want legal counsel NOW . AT least to this layman, it seems points you might make now to get it lifted could be the very points that later make it all but impossible to get tossed as fraudulent

    Your odds go downhill fast absent counsel like NOW.

    From my HR days, we used checkout firm that literally was a CIA alumni club ....and lots of stuff comes out of woodwork never mind what law says can be checked . .
    For some licensing applicants (I am referring to the four fields mentioned earlier), honesty plays a major role when deciding whether to disclose past offenses. The failure to disclose can lead to immediate denial.

    I definitely agree that an attorney's assistance is important. The attorney can help work to minimize the harm that comes from having a domestic violence protection order on one's record.


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