...for example, if an email is brought up from the opposing party as a threat, but which was written a year ago approximately and that was the one and only time anything was claimed in the email, how a judge would likely react to it based on the length of the email and the time the opposing party waited to bring it forward as a threat and if the judge is likely to assume that if it's been a while and nothing has happened up to the point that both sides have not even physical met, their communication has been mutual within the whole year since the threatening email was written and since there have not been immediate and also numerous threats made ever since, is this grounds for a restraining order to become permanent or not.
It is important to remember that restraining orders are not a punishment for past behavior, they are to restrain potential future behavior. So in that regard, yes, "immediate threats" as you say would weigh/should weigh more heavily that other, older evidence of threats. This is why the DV petitions ask the petitioner to list past threats in reverse chronological order (newest first). The judge will be looking to see whether or not the past behavior is predictive of any future behavior, and if that email helps tell the story, then it'll be considered.
Unfortunately restraining orders are decided by one person. Their beliefs and perceptions will determine if it qualifies. Almost anything is possible. I have seen them granted for different reasons then the ones requested. I have seen them granted when I thought there was no way and denied when I thought it was inevitable. So the answer is yes it can be a basis but the judge will consider everything.
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The email is just one of the factors that the judge will take into account. The judge will take into consideration all behavior and actions that amount to an implied threat and not just the threats that have a paper trail. The judge will also take into account any declarations or witness testimonial that goes to show that there have been other threats (for example stalking, etc).
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Context is key and whether it symbolizes a pattern over time.
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According to your message the email was written a year ago; you have not had any physical contact in all this time and nothing else has happened since then. I would think it's unlikely that a judge will grant a restraining order under these factors unless the email contains threats and/or other facts that in the context of your relationship merit a restraining order. If you find this helpful and/or the best answer, please check on the appropriate box below. Thank you.
Family Law Attorney
I don't see how a year old email can be sufficient to find immediate threat. Maybe it is being used to show the character of the person (their propensity for making threats). As already stated, a restraining order needs a showing of recent abuse or threat.
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