The Equal Justice Foundation has received a number of emails and phone calls regarding the following story about a restraining order issued in Santa Fe, New Mexico, including one call from another of David Sanchez's victims who has spent 5 years, and a half-million dollars trying to get a divorce in his court. A link to an Adobe Acrobat file containing Colleen Nestler's TRO application, the TRO, and her 6-page letter is provided and it should make interesting reading for any of you who haven't seen the level of incompetence and insanity one typically finds in protection/restraining order proceedings.
Abstracted from articles by the Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican
December 21, 2005 A Santa Fe woman was granted a temporary restraining order against television talk show host David Letterman on December 15, 2005. She contends the celebrity used code words to show that he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host.
A state judge granted the ex parte temporary restraining order to Colleen Nestler, who alleged that Letterman has forced her to go bankrupt and had inflicted "mental cruelty" and "sleep deprivation" upon her since May 1994. Nestler's application for a restraining order was accompanied by a six-page typed letter in which she said Letterman used code words, gestures, and "eye expressions" to convey his desires for her and requested that he stay at least 1 yard from her.
Ms. Nestler wrote that she began sending Letterman "thoughts of love" after his show began in 1993, and that he responded in code words and gestures, asking her to come east. She said he asked her to be his wife during a televised "teaser" for his show by saying, "Marry me, Oprah." Her letter claimed "Oprah" was the first of many code names Mr. Letterman used for her. Her letter stated that the coded vocabulary increased and changed with time, [which no doubt it did as her delusions increased] but doesn't say why she is only now seeking a restraining order.
The temporary order required that Mr. Letterman, who tapes his show in New York, stay the standard 100 yards away from Ms. Nestler and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering." Ms. Nestler told the Associated Press by telephone that she had no comment pending the hearing for a permanent restraining order "and I pray to God I get it."
A motion filed December 20 th on behalf of Mr. Letterman by Albuquerque attorney Pat Rogers contends the order is without merit and asked state District Judge Daniel Sanchez to quash it. "Celebrities deserve protection of their reputation and legal rights when the occasional fan becomes dangerous or deluded." Rogers' motion to quash the order contends the court lacks jurisdiction over Letterman, that Nestler never served him with restraining order papers, and that she didn't meet other procedural requirements [and lots of luck with those claims!].
Letterman's longtime Los Angeles attorney, Jim Jackoway, said Colleen Nestler's claims were "obviously absurd and frivolous...This constitutes an unfortunate [but far too common] abuse of the judicial process."
While this may seem like an isolated incident perpetrated by a mentally-disturbed woman, that assumption is far from the reality in the 2+ million restraining orders issued every year in the United States. For example, in Weld County, Colorado, we had a county judge on Sanchez's level issue a restraining order to a woman against a man in Florida. In fact, we've had a couple of cases like that here. And lets not forget the case of the blonde dimwit who seized a child, who was and is a Texas resident, of a man when he made the mistake of letting the child visit her mother in Colorado even though he had a restraining order against the child's mother. So lack of jurisdiction hasn't impeded any judge we're aware of from issuing a restraining order against anyone, anywhere, for any reason (or lack thereof).
In fact, judge shopping is quite common. If one judge won't issue the protection order then any loony can go to another court and get one there. It isn't unusual to find a man with several restraining orders against him at the same time requested by the same woman in different jurisdictions. Or, if the order is dismissed in one court, for her to get one or more protection orders against him in other jurisdictions.
Or, after a TRO has been resolved, and the husband moves back into the house he has paid for, the menopausal wife tells him he is only living there because she lets him. And threatens to call the cops again if he doesn't do what she wants when she wants.
Or the many cases where a former girlfriend gets a restraining order against the ex-boyfriend, who couldn't put up with her insanity any longer, and the order bars him from his own home even though her name isn't on the lease or title. Many, many times we've heard of women who openly threaten to do this if the man dumps her.
The destruction of lives, families, and children by DV charges and restraining orders is described In Women's Own Words. And we have no evidence to suggest that any restraining order for abuse, anywhere, or at any time, has provided significant, quantifiable protection to anyone.
Then there are the many cases of personality disorders or deliberate self injury. For example, an email received three days ago described how a woman "...was at her cousin's house when a young lady drove up and got out of her car and began beating herself in the face with a tennis shoe. She marked herself pretty good. After this the young lady went in the house and stated... that her boy friend beat her up."
In spite of the demonstrated insanity of many applicants, and the routine use of protection orders for vengeance, Colorado courts publicly posts instructions and forms for obtaining these orders. A convenient incident checklist is also provided and it doesn't take much shoehorning to fit Colleen Nestler's complaints into the items in this checklist. Note also that filing fees are waived if the "Petitioner is seeking a protection order as a victim of domestic abuse, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact." In fact the court may even assess the accused man such fees.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find some of Colleen Nestler's arguments start showing up in the victim's assistance pamphlets freely distributed to women seeking these orders and paid for out of taxpayer funds.
I am not aware of any case where a man has successfully sued to recover damages no matter how many times he was maliciously prosecuted or false protection orders (abuse of process) were taken out against him. So Letterman might as well save his time and money and forget about trying for damages against Mrs. Nestler.
And nowhere but in Colleen Nestler's letter is it apparent that she was married to another man while all this was going on. In this Christmas season let us not forget the ill will she has brought down on her husband, and the ill will against millions of other men who suffer this Christmas Eve without their children under the immense burden of unjust orders and false allegations.