Its wildly known that marriage has its ups and downs. The elders often preach about how communication and conflict resolution are important aspects of serious commitment. Commitment is ideal, however, the essential puzzle piece to a great marriage is security. A marriage should provide you with a sense of emotional and physical security. Once that security is compromised, the entire bond is broken. No amount of apologies, renewals, or government documents will eradicate the scars of abuse. Sometimes it’s best to escape now, while you have a chance. 

Heather Mouton never got that chance. 

The Problem With Restraining Orders

Heather Mouton lived with her husband, Demetric Savoy, in Crowley, Louisiana, working multiple jobs to help provide for their three children. To outsiders, they seemed to have a typical marriage, however, in reality, their marriage was very dark. Heather’s husband was abusive. In fact, her father later found out that “the husband had threatened Heather’s life so many times that she had to have an escort at her job for McDonald’s Corp “. Heather hid the abuse from her family. When it got to be too much, she left her husband and filed a restraining order against him. A restraining order, or protective order, is a temporary court order that prohibits an individual from coming in contact with a specific person. Days after Mouton filed the order in May 2018, she was shot and killed by her husband in front of their children in. Mouton was not informed on her rights to press charges, nor was her case looked at in a timely manner. Because of this, she never had a chance to escape. The Louisiana restraining order system failed Heather Mouton. 

Louisiana Finally Takes Action

Heather Mouton’s story stuck a chord with Louisiana officials. Contrary to popular belief, Louisiana has a history of domestic violence and homicide. According to Gov. John Bel Edwards, “Louisiana ranks third nationally when it comes to domestic violence… [and the] “second highest for the number of women killed by men…”. Because of these drastic statistics, Louisiana government has passed a new bill granting higher protections for victims of domestic violence. On June 1, 2019, the Senate Judiciary C Committee unanimously passed the House Bill 36 by Rep. John Stefanski, which enforces an immediate response to newly filed restraining orders. Once approved by the governor, this law will further speed up the order filing process by requiring restraining orders to be filed in the Louisiana Protective Order Registry at the Louisiana Supreme Court and distributed to local law enforcement in less than two days. Most importantly, it will require officers to notify victims of their rights to press charges before their scheduled court date. Bill HB36 shall be referred to as Heather’s Law. With these adjustments, Louisiana officials hope to decrease the number of domestic abuse homicides by creating a safer and more effective system for reporting abuse. 

Are You REALLY Protected?

While Bill HB36 is good in theory, there are already many issues with how this new system will be implemented. 

Who is responsible for enforcing and regulating this timed file system? If currently there is a waiting list, will those orders be filed before the new ones? How do courts determine which orders have priority if multiple are registered on the same day? How highly do protective orders rank in comparison to other law enforcement responsibilities? Louisiana Restraining and Protective Orders

It is highly illogical to assume that law enforcement will keep up with every order while tending to other time-consuming tasks and responsibilities. Victims of domestic violence can not depend on the system to step in at the right time. They need to leave as soon as possible before it’s too late. We strongly urge victims to remove themselves from abusive relationships physically and legally. The best way to escape is careful preparation. Victims must prepare for disastrous consequences by saving emergency money in advance, updating their contact information, and separating and monitoring their finances. 

In fact, preparation is so important to us and our clients that we created a FREE guide detailing the next course of action you should take NO MATTER your cause of divorce. In our free book, 16 Sensible Actions to Help You Plan and Prepare for Your Divorce​, you will learn why it’s crucial to manage your credit, create your own personal and business accounts, and plan out your custody case in advance to filing. In domestic abuse situations, you need to have complete control of the access to your livelihood. How easy is it for your spouse to tarnish your public reputation and hold your finances and legal information hostage? Click here to have your copy of this important information delivered to your email right away!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.  If you need assistance, an attorney can help you plan for the worst. Protect your financial and social freedoms by calling Loyd J Bourgeois at 985-240-9773 to set up a consultation. 

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care
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