Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah Crime & Courts
Tribune Justice Reporters
By Tribune Justice Reporters

Subscribe (RSS)




Dispatch from court: No knives for you!

For six months, one Salt Lake County man was banned from buttering his bread, cutting his steak or eating out anywhere that required utensils more heavy duty than chopsticks, forks or spoons.

He was banned from going anywhere near knives.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

That meant no butter knives, no steak knives, no dinners out on the town if it meant entering restaurants full of that kind of cutlery. It upended his life, his lawyer told 3rd District Court Commissioner Michelle Bloomquist earlier this month.

Why?

Because the man, who we will not name for the purposes of this blog post, had threatened his wife with a knife more than six months prior.

In a protective order leveled against him, in addition to staying away from his wife, he was ordered to stay away from knives — of every kind.

"It’s a very unusual restriction for it to ban him from owning or being around all knives," said Stewart Ralphs, the executive director for the Legal Aid Society of Utah.

Ralphs, whose attorneys represented the man’s now-ex wife in this case, said the intent of a protective order is always to protect the victim. But these documents, too, can be abused.

Sometimes, the person who is being ordered to stay away from certain weapons will also be banned from everyday items that may be necessary to their lives, jobs or eating habits.

When this man made a motion to alter the protective order — to allow him kitchenware and restaurant visits — the legal aid attorney declined to fight him on it.

Seemed reasonable enough, she thought. Who wouldn’t want this man to own a butter knife?

His ex-wife.

She fought the motion on her own, and eventually lost.

"After a period of time, it probably is too restrictive on the [man’s] right to carry on a normal life not to be able to use knives," Ralphs said. "The reality is that if a weapon is used in a domestic violence incident, it’s not inappropriate for them to restrict him from it. But it comes down to the protective order being specific. You might want to tell someone that they can’t have a carving knife or whatever may have been used in the violence, but you should probably allow them to continue on having regular dinnerware."

Striking the balance between protecting a victim and allowing the person being restricted to live their life is a fine line to walk, Ralphs said.

One might even say it’s as difficult as balancing on the edge of a knife.

What’s the most bizarre case of protective orders gone wild that you’ve heard or seen? Leave your stories below in the comments.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.