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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Protection From Abuse Judge Jennifer Howell Style

Blogger Comments:  The Sunday Decatur Daily's front page article highlights the need and the procedures for protection against abuse.  Not the sort of thing we've been inundated with recently but the real need of ordinary people. It's a long article but worth the read. Folks as the Decatur Daily reports the judge has broad powers to issue an immediate, but temporary order limiting the defendant's conduct on Protection from Abuse (PFA).  

The article brings us back to a tragic incident where Roger Stevens threatened to kill his ex-wife Kay should she ever be granted a divorce or if he sees her with another man.  That threat came true a couple of days after Kay's divorce.  It isn't that Kay didn't try to get help. She did.  We understand she filed for a Protect Order again and Judge Jennifer Howell denied the protection order rendering a denial of the order; that it did not meet the standard criteria for an approved order.  The judge also has the authority to order the defendant to turn over his/her firearm to the sheriff.  Neither of which happened.

The Protection Order may not have saved Kay's life but the judge had an obligation to Kay and we believe she missed the boat.  Big Time.  The order would have required Roger to keep a distance of 300 feet from Kay.  As we said Judge Jennifer Howell claimed that Kay's complaint did not meet the criteria.  Kay had suffered domestic violence and the day Roger is alleged to have killed her was not the first case of domestic violence.  Howell goes on to say if the protection order does not meet specificity she will not grant the order.  Roger was well known to make comments that he would kill Kay if he ever saw her with another man.  Howell claims many of the petitions she receives are defective.  So! for a defective order you are going to ignore the victim?  Kay Stevens was a true victim.  Or maybe something more nefarious was going on.  Roger Stevens family was good friends with the sheriff.  So good in fact that when he shot Kay and cowered at his workplace in his semi-truck that Sheriff Ana Franklin went to the site in Madison County and jumped in the truck with Roger with a bottle of alcohol and began to sip whiskey with him.  Once he was drunk or close to it Sheriff Franklin promised Roger to take him by his daddy's house to let him see his daddy before going to jail.  Can you believe that?  Poor Roger.  Franklin knew or should have known that Kay Stevens was dead.  Shot in front of her bakery while trying to run away from Roger Stevens.  Kay's sister who will never forget that day has to suffer the consequences daily.  Maybe just maybe if Judge Howell had followed protocol Kay Stevens and her sister would still be running their bakery. 

Howell goes on to say in the article that "They're filling out the blanks in a hurry, they're writing things that I can't read.  They the victims need to be specific".  How about Roger Stevens is threatening to kill me if he ever sees me with another man or Roger Steven poured or sprayed black paint on my home, or Roger Stevens called my home with death threats.  Those are not specific?  Surely it isn't against the law for the judge to refer these cases to an advocacy group for assistance. If she is to darn lazy or lackluster to provide some guidance on what they did wrong on the forms.   We don't believe Kay needed assistance from anybody.  Kay was well informed that Roger Stevens' intent was to kill her.  

State Senator Clay Scofield R - Guntersville said he worries some PFA's petitions are denied because the victim is unable to present her case clearly.  Just hope you are not a victim whose husband is a friend of the sheriff of Morgan County, a victim that has requested assistance more than once and you end up in Judge Howell's courtroom.  We saw what happened to Kay.

We recall a time after Kay's death that Judge Howell was threatened.  She was so terrified that she could barely speak.  It is terrible to be a victim of abuse or threatened abuse.  The courts took the threat seriously and acted immediately.  The way Judge Howell should have done in the Kay Stevens case.  

Nobody should take these cases lightly especially Judges and Sheriffs.  Howell goes on to say the PFA isn't to punish the defendant from past abuses but for future abuses.  That is about the dumbest thing out of Judge Howell's mouth.  How does she know that the complaint coming is a "past" abuse?  How about present abuse that may eliminate future abuse?  We have always said that Judge Howell has a screw loose.   She has just proven it again.  Women in Morgan County are at a vulnerability when they go to Howell for assistance.  

Folks, it's our opinion that Sheriff Ana Franklin and Judge Howell are both half-baked.  Our sheriff is an incompetent sheriff and Judge Jennifer Howell is an incompetent judge who was fired from the Morgan County DA's office.  We could also go into inmate abuse where Judge Howell and Sheriff Franklin used inmates at home to do their dirty work.  We could go on to say that Ana for one told the inmates not to tell or to lie if asked.

Did you notice that the men asked to respond in the Daily article were far more compassionate than Howell.  Judge Howell does realize that many of the victims are not judges, nor did they go to law school and are distraught when they get to her office.  That doesn't make them dumb or slow they are desperately seeking help from a smart ass judge who has no compassion.

Finding protection from abuse

  • Updated 

Protection Abuse Form link below.

When presented with a PFA petition by a victim of abuse, a judge has broad powers to issue an immediate, but temporary, order limiting the defendant's conduct. The order can prohibit the abuser from communicating with the victim, from having physical contact with the victim, or even from going within 300 feet of the victim. It can require the abuser to leave the residence, and it can limit contact with children.
The judge also has authority to require the defendant to turn over all firearms to the sheriff, which is what Limestone County Circuit Judge James Woodroof did in July after Thomas Lewter — while carrying two pistols — allegedly threatened his wife at O'Neal Church of Christ.
A victim seeking a PFA does not need a lawyer. State law requires that forms be available at all circuit court clerks’ offices. If a judge is convinced after reading the completed form that the risk of injury to the victim is imminent, the order can be issued without a hearing and is served on the abuser by a sheriff’s deputy. Such ex parte orders can last for up to 10 days. PFAs can last longer only if both sides have an opportunity to present their side at a hearing.
The advantage of a PFA is a defendant who violates the order is in contempt of court.
“It is an order by the courts that is enforceable by law enforcement and gives us some authority to remove the offender and charge them for violation,” said Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin. “A protection from abuse (order) should be sought immediately when a person has been a victim of physical abuse … that physical harm is imminent.”  We've attached a copy of the statute.
Ana's right.  But first, the threatened party must convince a judge.  Here in Morgan County, all requests for a PFA go to one judge.  Guess which one.  Her Honor Jennifer Howell, Ana's pal.  Ana's comments above while true are worthless in Morgan County and she knows it.
The PFA request is a 5-page form, mostly check the boxes and fill in the blank.  It is simple in design, so you don't need a lawyer.   But you may need help.  
SyRhonda Smith, victim services coordinator at Crisis Services of North Alabama, said PFAs are a powerful tool that her clients frequently utilize, but they’re not a panacea.
“Smith helps many of her clients with PFA petitions, and she said most are successful in obtaining an order.
The roadblock is the judge.
“If they don’t meet the requirements of the statute, including specificity, I will not issue a protection order because they can’t carry their case,” said Morgan County Circuit Judge Jennifer Howell. “You have to look at it from the defendant’s perspective as well. They have rights, too.” All PFA petitions in the county go to Howell, and she says many of the petitions she receives are defective.  
The form is designed for ordinary folks, not attorneys.  They are going to make mistakes.  Judge Jenny is holding 'just folks' to a lawyerly standard.  Hardly any of the victims have degrees from Harvard Law.  Neither does Judge Jenny by the way.  
“What I see a lot of times is people aren’t even reading it,” Howell said of the standardized PFA form. “They’re filling out the blanks in a hurry, they’re scratching through, they’re writing things that I can’t read. They need to be specific.
“Know the details and put those details in the petition. You can’t give too many details, but you can give too few. … If you actually read the form and write down what it’s asking, you have a very good chance of getting your protection order issued.”
Oh, yeah?  Just ask Kay Stevens.  No, wait.  You can't.  She's dead.
n 2014, Kay Stevens sought a protection order against her husband, Roger Stevens, after he twice came to the bakery she owned, throwing black paint at the wall one time and saying, "I'll kill you if I ever see you with another man," the second time. Howell denied the order because the alleged actions were "not a definition of abuse." Two years later — long after an ex parte order would have expired — Roger Stevens allegedly shot her dead at the bakery. He is awaiting trial on murder charges.   It's also true that had the order been granted, there would have been a judicial hearing possibly replacing the ex parte order. Such ignorance.  Such incompetence. Sad.  
See Excerpts and link to law below? du/live/files/4914-alabama

1 comment:

  1. A blog needs to be started about the corruption of Judge Jennifer Howell! How she is still able to hold her seat on the bench is beyond me! She has violated the rights of so many Morgan County citizens (some including children) with her incompetent and corrupt rulings!
    My question does she get away with? How did she get away with violating peoples amendment rights and civil rights? Not only does she violate them, but verbally threatens to throw them in jail if they pursue defending their legal rights!
    It was reported by a neighbor of Judge Howell that her and her husband Johnny Howell (who works in law enforcement and has many “connections” with his law enforcement buddies in Morgan County) how they used inmates and transported them to do work on their property. Can anyone say.....Slave labor? Ethics violation? Abuse of power?
    Not to mention her being in cahoots with Ana Franklin! Having one another's backs, doing special favors for one another (and when I say “special” I really mean ILLEGAL). Judge Howell is partly responsible for Kay Stevens being murdered! Her friendship and loyalty to Ana Franklin (in Ana wanting to protect the man who murdered Kay because the former Sheriff was friends with the murder) trumped doing the RIGHT thing in helping to protect an innocent woman! And God forbid you go to court against anyone who works in law-enforcement… Because no matter how much proof you have… You will lose! Because of her history of her father workimg in law-enforcement as well as her husband… She shows favoritism! She actively participates in the blue wall of silence!
    But that’s Morgan County for you… Full of corruption...from the police department to the judicial system! It’s all about scratching one another's backs, covering up for one another, and protecting their matter the cost!
    Why hasn’t the FBI investigated Judge Howell? I guarantee you if the FBI made a public announcement for people to come forward with complaints and evidence...there would be a laundry list of legitimate complaints and evidence against her!