By Natalia Ruvalcaba
RIVERSIDE, CA –Judge Emily Benjamini put a peaceful contact order in place—despite the alleged victim’s claim it was not necessary—here in Riverside County Superior Court this week for a suspect charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.
*Note: The Vanguard is not identifying the suspect because this is a misdemeanor case.
Assistant Public Defender Ruth Heavrin entered a plea of not guilty for the man charged with Penal Code section 243(e)(1), which prohibits force or violence against a spouse or former spouse, fiancé, dating partner, or the other parent of a child.
Judge Benjamini informed the suspect the court “needs to make an inquiry based upon the nature of the charges.” She then informed the courtroom that an off-the-record meeting was held with both defense and prosecution to discuss the need for a criminal protective order.
To the PD, the judge said, “The court understands that you are objecting to any issuance of any order whatsoever and indicated that the protected party, the proposed protective party, is present and her request was for no protective order to be issued.”
Despite the proposed protected party informing PD Ruth Heavrin not wanting the issuance of a protective order, Judge Benjamini stated that discussion in sidebar led the court to believe “good cause exists to issue a protective order based upon the nature of the charges.”
Though rather than a no-contact order, the protective order put into place is for no negative contact, which will be effective until Feb. 1, 2025.
PD Heavrin reported that, despite the accused’s objection to any criminal protective order in place, “we submit based on our discussion sidebar.”
Judge Benjamini stated, “Based on the nature of the offense the court does feel there is good cause to issue a protective order. I will issue it for no negative contact.”
She explained the order, saying the accused is able to maintain contact with the victim, but “if there are any alleged violations of the court’s order it can subject you to additional criminal law charges or filings.”