The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Defamation Trial

Over the past couple of weeks, the media has turned its attention to the Depp vs. Heard defamation trial. For those following, it’s a unique perspective of just how complicated relationships and marriages can be in addition to the legal system in the United States.

While the intent behind the case is purely about defamation, the case does give viewers a first-hand account of what it takes to fight a restraining order.

Here are some commonly asked questions that many have after following the case so far:

Question 1: In the trial, we have heard from police, assistants, security and others that there was never any evidence that Johnny Depp abused Amber Heard. Therefore, how was she able to obtain a restraining order?

Answer 1: Under Rhode Island law, a restraining order can be issued even when the only “evidence” is a statement or affidavit submitted by the accuser.  There is no requirement that the accuser submit independent or unbiased or third party evidence to support their allegations.

Question 2: Are you able to fight a restraining order that has been filed against you?

Answer 2: Yes, in Rhode Island you are given the right to notice of the restraining order and a hearing in which you can defend yourself against the allegations. Similar to the Depp case, Braatz Family Law always recommends that 1.) you obey the restraining order and 2.) collect any evidence in your favor that could be used in the trial and 3.) hire an experienced lawyer to present your evidence and side of the story at your restraining order hearing.

Question 3: Do I have any recourse if someone takes out a frivolous or fraudulent restraining order against me?

Answer 3: If an accuser has lied in the affidavit, you can try to present your evidence to your local police department to see if they would be willing to charge the accuser with filing a false statement. You can sue for defamation, but that would typically require that you hire and pay a lawyer to pursue that claim for you. The Amber vs. Depp case is a prime example of this type of defamation claim based on fraudulent restraining order allegations.

Question 4: Can I take out a restraining order against that person if they took one out against me?

Answer 4: No, you are not able to take a restraining order against that person solely because they took one out against you. You are legally able to file a restraining order against any person (including the person that took one out on you) if meet the legal criteria for obtaining a restraining order (you suffered physical abuse or you are in fear of bodily harm).

At Braatz Family Law, our Rhode Island divorce lawyers have extensive experience in divorce law. All of our resources are dedicated towards helping families through this complicated process. We represent clients throughout Rhode Island. While our Rhode Island law firm focuses on fair minded and common sense practices to help couples litigate out of court, if necessary, we will take matters to trial. Don’t wait. If you or a loved one is experiencing family issues and is in need of a Rhode Island divorce lawyer, please contact us today at (401) 440-1171.