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209A Soup to Nuts
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8.0 Permanent c. 209A
Until 1990, G. L. c. 209A, �� 3 did not expressly authorize permanent orders.In 1990, an amended version of � 3 (St. 1990, c. 403, � 3) explicitly permitted the entry of permanent orders at a renewal hearing. Lonergan - Gillen v. Gillen, 57 Mass. App. Ct. 746 (2003).8
G. L. c. 209A, � 3 now provides: "Any relief granted by the court shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year ... If the plaintiff appears at the court at the date and time the order is to expire, the court shall determine whether or not to extend the order for any additional time reasonably necessary to protect the plaintiff or to enter a permanent order." Lonergan - Gillen v. Gillen, 57 Mass. App. Ct. 746 (2003). (emphasis added).
G. L. c. 209A, � 3, empowers the judge to issue an order for a year. Thereafter, � 3 "empowers a judge in the District Court (or any other court with jurisdiction to consider the matter) to issue a permanent protective order at a renewal hearing." Crenshaw v. Macklin, 430 Mass. 633, 633 (2000) cited with approval in Doe v. Keller, 57 Mass. App. Ct. 776 (2003).
Because, as the judge found, the triggering event (the rape) which occurred some four years earlier, "was particularly egregious," we hold that the judge did not abuse his discretion in ruling that the plaintiff still feared the defendants even though there had been no contact between the parties in the past two years. Doe v. Keller, 57 Mass. App. Ct. 776 (2003).
Note: Ten years after 1990 amendment, Court "Guidelines for Judicial Practice: Abuse Protection Proceedings � 6:08 ": (rev. 1997) stated, as late as December, 2000, that an order "may be extended for up to another year." Clearly the Guideline is not consistent with the amendment to c. 209A, � 3. Of course, the judge does have discretion to enter a continuation order of one or more years or a permanent order.