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Bowles swears them in and reads aloud the statement of the person seeking protection. Then Bowles must decide if he's legally able to act on the case.That authority comes from state law, which outlines what does and does not qualify for an IPO.A bailiff stands as a quiet barrier between the tables where the parties sit.Others on the docket are asked to wait in the hallway until their case is called, keeping the courtroom quiet and more private.And as a new piece of law, IPO cases haven't worked their way up to higher courts that can provide guidance on interpretation.After Michelle - with an attorney she obtained through the Legal Aid Society - appealed Bowles' ruling, the judge went back to the statute, reading through it again five or six times.
She eventually went to the police to file a report.“There’s always that what-if,” she said. But the two were not dating, and for that reason, Bowles said he wasn’t able to grant her protection under the law.
But she did remember being told she could seek some sort of legal protective order, one that months before she couldn't have received.
A police officer had taken a report, but she didn't want the man arrested.
“You know what happened, and yet you’re still going to let him be around me?
”But as Bowles explained in an interview, the new law has some ambiguities that have surfaced in his courtroom, as in Michelle’s case.