Exercise 5 - Aggravated Stalking
The defendant is charged with aggravated stalking under §30-3A-3.1 for violating a domestic violence order of protection by driving past her ex-boyfriend's residence on 25 separate instances. The new Assistant District Attorney, fresh out of law school, pursues the case in magistrate court. The judge reviews the criminal complaint and reads the aggravated stalking statute.
What course of action should the judge take?
- A. Keep the case on the court's docket as magistrate courts have jurisdiction to handle cases involving violations of protective orders because such offenses are misdemeanors.
- Answer A is incorrect. It is true that under §40-13-6(F) cases alleging violations of a protective order are misdemeanors and therefore are within the jurisdiction of magistrate and metropolitan courts. However, the case before the court deals with the charge of aggravated stalking committed by the defendant based upon a violation of a domestic violence order of protection rather than simply whether or not the order was violated. Under §30-3A-3.1(B), aggravated stalking is always a felony offense and magistrate courts lack the jurisdiction to preside over such cases. Please select another answer.
- B. Transfer the case immediately to the district court because that court was responsible for issuing the protective order and therefore is responsible for hearing all cases involving the protective order.
- Answer B is incorrect. Transferring the case to the district court is correct, but not for the reason provided in this answer. Transferring the case is required because aggravated stalking is always a felony offense, as specified in §30-3A-3.1(B). Under §40-13-6(F), violations of a protective order are misdemeanor offenses and therefore are within the jurisdiction of magistrate and metropolitan courts. In this instance, the transfer is required because aggravated stalking is a felony, not because the court issuing the protective order must handle all violations of the order. Please select another answer.
- C. Transfer the case immediately to the district court because aggravated stalking is a felony.
- Answer C is correct! Under §30-3A-3.1(A)(1), knowingly violating an order of protection is one basis for aggravated stalking. However, under §30-3A-3.1(B), aggravated stalking is exclusively a felony offense and therefore is not within the scope of the limited jurisdiction courts.