General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 121B Housing and Urban Renewal - Section 32F Restraining orders and injunctions; form; service; enforcement; violations; effect; modification and vacation

Section 32F. Whenever a court, pursuant to section thirty-two C, issues a temporary restraining order or a preliminary or permanent injunction ordering a defendant to refrain from entering or remaining in a public or subsidized housing development or from harming a witness under this section, the order issued shall specify the person and the addresses covered and contain the following statement: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. The clerk shall transmit two certified copies of each such order to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and such law enforcement agency shall serve one copy of the order upon such defendant. Unless otherwise directed by the court, for good cause shown, service shall be by delivering a copy in hand to the defendant. Law enforcement agencies shall establish procedures adequate to ensure that all officers responsible for the enforcement of the order are informed of the existence and terms of such orders. Whenever any law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a defendant has violated the terms of an order issued pursuant to this section, such officer shall have the authority to arrest said defendant. After any such order has been served upon the defendant, any violation of such order during its effective term shall be punishable by a fine of not more than three thousand five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two years in a house of correction, or both. Any such violation may be enforced in the court that issued the order which is alleged to have been violated.

All temporary restraining orders granted under section thirty-two C shall remain in effect for no more than ten days from issuance. All other interlocutory orders granted under section thirty-two C shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any order upon a showing of good cause. All orders granted under section thirty-two C which expire after a limited term shall so state on the order. No permanent order shall be granted except as a final judgment after a trial on the merits.

A person subject to an order under sections thirty-two C may request that such order be modified or vacated at any time. Grounds for modification shall include, but not be limited to, hardship that would result from the person’s inability to visit a tenant or a member of a tenant household, the person’s need to carry out legitimate business on or near the public or subsidized housing development, or new evidence or evidence of a change in circumstances showing that it is unlikely that the person’s presence in the public or subsidized housing development shall continue to pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the development.

All orders granted shall be crafted in such a manner as to minimize interference with the rights of tenant households to reasonable visitation in accordance with any orders issued in any other court proceeding.

The court shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in writing whenever an order issued pursuant to this section is stayed, modified, or vacated, and shall direct the agency to destroy all record of any order which is vacated, and not to act on any order which is stayed. Such law enforcement agency shall comply with court directives on stayed or vacated orders, and shall only enforce orders with a limited term during the term of such orders.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015