You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Dismissed protection orders cost Clark County thousands

Those who fail to appear or cancel their cases cost taxpayers $134K in 5 years.Advocate says many people are too afraid to go through with process against an abuser.

More than 43 percent of those who requested civil protection orders in Clark County failed to show up in court or voluntarily dismissed their case over the last five years, costing taxpayers nearly $134,000, a Springfield News-Sun investigation found.

That dollar figure is based on an estimated cost of $110 to process each request, according to Clerk of Courts Ron Vincent’s Domestic Relations Division, which by law it’s not allowed to charge for.

The figure doesn’t account for costs to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in serving summonses related to the average of more than 550 cases a year.

Most of the 43 percent who file then don’t show or dismiss the request don’t follow through not because the requests were frivolous, according to Project Woman Director Laura Baxter. Rather, it’s because of fear of their abuser and of the future, Baxter said.

And at least one study has found protection order benefits greatly outweigh their costs.

A civil protection order, called a CPO, is a form of civil action requested by a member of the public (petitioner) that, if a court grants it, orders a person (the respondent) to do or not do certain things while it’s active, according to Clark County Common Pleas Court documents. For example, someone might be ordered not to call a petitioner or to stay away from them. The orders are often requested for things such as stalking and domestic violence.

Violation of a CPO is a crime, and the respondent can be arrested, jailed and fined if they disobey an active CPO. A CPO is different than a temporary protection order, which is tied to criminal cases and ordered by the court.

Most petitioners have good intentions when they ask the court for a CPO, Baxter said, but those who don’t follow through most often fear retribution by the abuser or fear the unknown of future finances or living situations.

“It’s … an emotional barrier for many victims to get the courage to put that in place and — especially if there’s a delay in processing — from the day that they say ‘I need a protection order,’ the more rapidly we can get it into and through the court and in place, they more likely they’ll (be to) follow through,” she said. “When there’s any kind of a delay, then the clock is ticking, so to speak, to increase the risk that they will step back (and) become afraid.”

And those who fail to appear are terrified to face their abuser in court, she added.

“Some of them just can’t bring themselves to do it, and that’s why they don’t come. It’s not because they didn’t have a good case, or it’s not because they decided the abuser wasn’t an abuser any more. I think more than anything it’s they’re terrified,” she said. “It’s extreme. Your whole body feels the fear, you know that if he can get his hand on you and you’re in front of him, I think that fear is the biggest factor.”

And fear is often used by an abuser to get the petitioner back together with them, causing the petitioner to voluntarily dismiss their case, she said.

By law, entities designated to process the orders aren’t allowed to charge the petitioner for their request, so costs from processing aren’t recouped.

During the years 2008-12 — the most recent available from the clerk’s office — an average of more than 130 petitions each year were dismissed by the court, triggered by the petitioner failing to appear for their court date.

Over those years, more than 660 requests — nearly 24 percent of all petitions — were denied for failure to appear, costing taxpayers more than $73,000.

Another 551 petitions were voluntarily dismissed during those years, costing more than $60,600. That’s nearly 20 percent of all petitions.

Over the last decade, there have been about 5,580 petitions filed, which in today’s dollars has cost about $614,000 to process.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have an estimate on how much it costs to serve the summonses.

Because it’s also not allowed to charge, officials don’t keep track of processing or the number of attempts and mileage its deputies make in serving them, according to Debbie Garman, warrants clerk with the sheriff’s office.

But a National Institute of Justice report, citing an NIJ-funded research study by the University of Kentucky, said that protection orders actually saved that state money.

While they may cost taxpayers initially, they actually save money through less use of tax-funded health and mental services, shelter, advocacy, and others, according to the report.

“Every dollar spent on the protective order intervention produced $30.75 in avoided costs to society. The state of Kentucky saved about $85 million over a one-year period because of significant declines in abuse and violence,” author Nikki Hawkins wrote, citing the study.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

‘I thought it would be easier’: What they are saying about President Trump’s comment
‘I thought it would be easier’: What they are saying about President Trump’s comment

President Donald Trump told reporters on the eve of his 100th day in office that the job of leader of the free world is harder than he imagined it would be. Trump, speaking to reporters from Reuters and The Washington Post said he misses the things he could do before becoming president, like driving himself and having private time. “I love my...
ODNR grants extension to comment on Clark County gravel pit request
ODNR grants extension to comment on Clark County gravel pit request

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is giving citizens another month to comment on Enon Sand and Gravel pit plans to expand its mining operation. “Due to public interest, the date for public comments to be accepted was changed from April 21 to Monday, May 22, according to ODNR. Enon Sand and Gravel wants to mine about 60 feet deeper on parts...
Clark County health commissioner: Get screened — and save your life
Clark County health commissioner: Get screened — and save your life

I saved my life today. Well, not all by myself. I had help from many people. Dr. Alan Gabbard, his staff, and the helpful staff at the Springfield Regional Outpatient Center made my thoughts into reality. Let me start at the beginning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends: “Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key...
Clark County: Beyond the first 100 days
Clark County: Beyond the first 100 days

It’s hard to believe that Commissioners Richard L. Lohnes, Lowell R. McGlothin and I have been serving together as Clark County Commissioners for 100 days. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day management, such as contracts, copies and budget approvals, but — while we have to assure those things are done responsibly —...
Clark County Municipal Court cases
Clark County Municipal Court cases

CASES CALLED WEDNESDAY INCLUDED: Lakesha L. Bradford, 35, of 1901 Michigan Ave., wrongful entrustment, guilty, six months driver’s license suspension, fined $100. Shawnda Lee Cochran, 27, of 1126 Rodgers Dr., assault, dismissed. Leonard Crank, 23, of New Carlisle, OVI amended to physical control, guilty, 180 days jail with 170 days suspended...
More Stories