Landmark Appeal for Reinstating Integrity of Maryland Domestic Violence Protection Laws


Maryland Court of Appeals

Maryland Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals of Maryland has granted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the case of Dr. Ariel Rosita King v. Michael H. Pfeiffer that sets forth the question: are all lower courts obligated to honor temporary protective orders (TPOs).   The Petition to the Court of Appeals was filed by Dr. Ariel King (the domestic violence victim), whose TPO (that was properly issued Judge Boynton for Dr. King and her five year old daughter, Ariana-Leilani King-Pfeiffer, after a hearing with both present) was quashed by another lower court (Judge Craven) at an unscheduled hearing — unilaterally called by the alleged abuser, Dr. Michael Pfeiffer — without proper notice, and held prematurely before the TPO-scheduled full protective order hearing date.  The hearing cut short the time period allowed for the victim, Dr. King, to the obtain aid of counsel from the House of Ruth in Maryland.   The Petition seeks to reinstate the integrity of the Domestic Violence statutes in Maryland and have the quashing order vacated so other victims of domestic violence will not suffer the same fate.   The unscheduled hearing violated the terms of the TPO, which specified that the next hearing would be held at a scheduled time (seven days from the issuance of the TPO), giving Dr. King an opportunity to obtain counsel and gather her witnesses.   The Petition was supported by leading domestic violence organizations.

Postcript: The Court of Appeals left a gapping hole in the domestic violence statutes by deciding not to rule on this petition even though they had originally granted the petition.  Read More.

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