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Kansas City Ordinance Will Let Municipal Courts Enforce Ex Parte Orders

Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Kansas City City Council is seeking to further curb domestic violence by letting the municipal courts enforce orders made by judges without all parties present, also known as ex parte orders.

The ordinance the public safety committee approved Wednesday makes violating any ex-parte order a municipal offense.

Municipal prosecutors can now enforce full protection orders, but not the temporary ex-parte orders granted by judges without formal hearings. But Kansas City Police Department Violent Crimes Detective David Kissee told the committee that it can take weeks for state courts to schedule a hearing — if one is ever scheduled at all.

Delay, he said, means danger for the victim who filed for the order.

“The ex parte can either be the step where someone goes, like, 'Ok, this is a court order. I need to back away,' or it could be the step where the person says, 'They're not going to tell me what to do...' and it leads to increased violence,” Kissee explained.

Kissee says fast judicial intervention is needed and the less-burdened, more efficient city courts can provide that.

With nine council members are already signed on as co-sponsors and approval from the prosecutors and chief municipal judge the ordinance appeared headed for quick passage.

But when it was read on the council floor, Councilman Ed Ford, an attorney, raised concerns that as written it could allow persons to be arrested and prosecuted without having received notice of the ex parte order.

With the consent of the sponsors, the ordinance was sent back to committee for further legal study and possible verbal fine-tuning.

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