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In Turner, we recognized the changing nature of the concept of “family,” as well as the Legislature's clear intent to extend protections to victims who experience violence beyond the context of the traditional “family.” See id.
The Legislature intended to encompass a variety of relationships within G.
The judge in this case ignored these factors and instead improperly relied upon judicially constructed factors, including “the fact that a criminal matter [sic ] has issued,” and “the age of the alleged victim.” According to the judge, the determination was based “primarily” on the fact that a criminal case was pending. While judicial discretion and flexibility are appropriate in applying the statutory definition of “substantive dating relationship,” they do not relieve a court of its obligation to apply the legislative criteria.
209A, § 1 (e ) (1)-(4), directs judges to consider four factors. The plaintiff contends that the judge properly exercised his broad discretion in according weight to these nonstatutory factors. 209A action is an adversarial proceeding in which both parties must be allowed to present evidence”).
209A is to provide “a statutory mechanism by which victims of family or household abuse can enlist the aid of the State to prevent further abuse”).
209A has protected victims exclusively from abuse by “family or household members.” G.
During the hearing on the question of continuing the temporary order, the plaintiff testified that the defendant had “been over to the house and he ha[d] taken [the daughter] to the movies.” When asked about the nature of the relationship, the mother testified that she was “really not sure. “An inference adverse to a defendant may be properly drawn ․ from his or her failure to testify in a civil matter such as this, even if criminal proceedings are pending․ However, inference cannot alone meet the plaintiff's burden․ [A] defendant's failure to testify cannot be used to justify the issuance of an abuse prevention order until a case is presented on other evidence.” (Citations omitted.) Frizado v. However, given the importance and merit of the defendant's due process claim, which both parties briefed, we choose to address it below. There is no question that the defendant was denied a meaningful opportunity to be heard. 209A, § 4; apart from the statute, his constitutional right to due process was denied him. 209A, § 4, requires a hearing “on the question of continuing the temporary order ․ no later than ten court business days after such [temporary] orders are entered.” The statute explicitly states: “[t]he court shall give the defendant an opportunity to be heard on the question of continuing the temporary order.” Id. 209A proceeding] includes his right to testify and to present evidence.
E.2d 47 (2002) (declining to further limit phrase “likely” in G. J., GREANEY, IRELAND, SPINA, COWIN, SOSMAN, & CORDY, JJ. A different District Court judge denied the defendant's motion to modify, and the defendant once again timely appealed. We first consider whether the plaintiff's daughter and the defendant were engaged in a “substantive dating relationship” as defined in G. See Part II, Title III of the General Laws, entitled “Domestic Relations” (including, inter alia, marriage, divorce, and child custody statutes). It would be unproductive to place a numerical quota on the number of “dates” that constitute a “substantive dating relationship,” just as it would be inappropriate to mandate a minimum duration for a relationship to fall within G. See Judicial Guidelines § commentary (“any attempt to explore the nature of the underlying relationship between the parties can inappropriately shift the focus of the proceedings away from the issue of protection. 209A is denominated a “domestic relations” statute within the General Laws. The statutory language clearly requires something more-a “substantive dating or engagement relationship.”Dating is inherently personal and idiosyncratic, and relationships exist in endless variety. Such an effort might spawn additional litigation and result in unnecessary intrusions by courts into the precise nature of parties' interactions.