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How do you stop someone from making repeated false accusations -- civil and criminal?

Frederick, MD |

My ex spouse continues to make repeated and false CPS allegations and even bogus criminal charges as part of an ugly child custody proceeding. What recourse does one have to stop this? Each and every allegation (some 25 of them) have been dismissed or ruled out. There must be something one can do to stop such malicious intent.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I am uncertain what you mean by a "CPS" allegation (perhaps "CDS - Controlled Dangerous Substance?") but one potential course of action, based on your description, is the initiation of a criminal harassment charge against your ex-spouse. Maryland law does prohibit the malicious engaging in a course of conduct that seriously annoys another when the offender intends such conduct to annoy, alarm or harass the victim after the victim has provided a reasonable warning or request to stop and there is no legal purpose for the conduct in the first instance. One might also consider the possible civil action of abuse of process, which involves the initiation of a civil action without a proper basis. You would be well served to speak with an attorney concerning the particulars of your child custody situation to ensure that whatever course of action considered does not inadvertently compromise your interests in any related proceedings.

Mr. Eidelberg is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The response herein is not legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship, is for educational purposes, and intended to impart general information about the subject inquiry. Consultation with a qualified attorney in the state from which the inquiry is generated is strongly recommended so that case specific legal guidance can be obtained.

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Posted

Believe it or not, it's very hard to make someone stop making false allegations. What county? As for the criminal accusations: Each jurisdiction has a different State's Attorney and therefore the procedures to address your issue varies. The last time I had a similar circumstance I met with a Deputy State's Attorney, who issued a memo to the Chief Commissioner of that County requesting that no charges be placed by the individual against my client until first reviewed by her office. As for the DSS investigation, probably not much can be done. It's been my experience that those offices have less discretion and must, by law, investigate every claim of abuse, no matter how far fetched. However, you should be able to use these false allegations to your advantage in the custody proceeding and may also have civil claims against her (see my profile, under "portfolio cases," (it took 8 days & 5 experts, but "alienation" by false accusation can be proven).

Please be advised that this response does not constitute "legal advice," nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek counsel of an attorney before taking any actions or deciding not to take any actions.

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Posted

Talk with a local attorney about whether you have facts sufficient for having him declared a "vexatious litigant" and barred from filing a legal action without prior permission of the court.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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2 comments

Michael Gene DeHaven

Michael Gene DeHaven

Posted

That may be appropriate advice if the person who asked the question lived in California and was seeking to stop his/her ex from pursuing a civil claim. However, the question is how to stop someone in Maryland from filing criminal charges or from initiating a DSS investigation.The State’s Attorney in my case wanted to use it as an example for legislation he wanted to propose to prevent an individual (as opposed to an investigator with a government agency) from obtaining an arrest warrant on a felony charge from a Maryland Court Commissioner unless the case was reviewed by the local office of the State’s Attorney. (He asked and I agreed to testify in Annapolis) This would appear to be an obvious remedy to avoid the drastic impact of false accusation of a felony charge. However, the State’s Attorney, whom I respect and trust, explained that he was advised that the proposal legislation would “never make it out of Committee,” because it would restrict a “victim’s right” to pursue a criminal charge. If someone else knows any way to stop someone from pursuing criminal charges or prevent DSS investigations, I’d love to know.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

With due respect for your first-hand MD experience, I stand by the advice that the asker should consult on this matter with a local attorney about options for aggressive and preclusive action. I did not intend any suggestion by that advice that I believe such action will be the whole answer, or even an effective strategy. But it is, surely, the starting point for reasoned action on a sequence of events that has become unconscionable and unbearable. Of course, as you know, the result of one prior case will not necessarily dictate the result for another in the future. So, while your experience is informative, it is not dispositive. Further, at some point, the legal profession must respond to the problems presented by the aggregate of clients and take some principled and informed position on such abusive uses of the legal system. To put it bluntly, lawyers must offer their considerable insight and expertise to state legislators in constructing effective recourse for abuse of the system. Who can or will take on this responsibility If not lawyers? And, lastly, plainly put, there is no other option for this asker but to get a skilled and aggressive lawyer and try what can be tried.

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