Good fences don't always make good neighbors

A West Roxbury District Court judge today admonished two neighbors to grow up and stop battling over their property line.

She reserved particular ire for a 72-year-old woman whose neighbor captured her video on his property scaring his kids and then smashing a glass deck table by throwing a rock at it. The woman, who had requested a restraining order against her neighbor and who walked into court with a cane, had denied ever going on his property, let alone destroying his furniture, but then the man produced his video camera and the judge watched a video showing the incident.

At 72, Judge Debra DelVecchio told the woman, she's more than old enough to know not to scare little children and smash furniture even if, as she alleged, the man had first tossed rocks her way. Despite repeated requests from the judge, the woman was unable to cite a single instance in which the man made her feel threatened for her life - a prerequisite for a protective order - and instead kept bringing up the fence the man had built, which she claimed was on her side of their property line.

The man, however, denied that, and said he put it several inches on his side of the line after a surveyor marked out their boundary. He said he was forced to put a fence in after repeated attacks by the woman dating back to the 1990s.

As the woman kept bringing up the fence and the man kept bringing up the rock incident, DelVecchio finally had enough. The woman was not going to get a restraining order - she'd provided no proof her neighbor threatened her. If he really threw rocks at her, she should have called police, rather than rampaging on his property and smashing things.

"Since neither of you are moving, it makes sense to try to get along," she told both. Failing that, there's always the police for violent acts - and land court for settling the issue of just where the fence should go.

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Comments

neighbors

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I take it you're joking, and I am no yuppie. This is just your usual "Get Off My Lawn" miserable old person who is angry at the world.

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Miserable

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Since this started in the 1990's, she was only miserable and middle-aged when this started.

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She is

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She handles restraining orders better than any other judge I've appeared before

typical

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West Roxbury story. What a [redacted b-word].

You want to get the real flavor of West Roxbury, spend some quality time with the psychos driving up and down Centre St. or @ Roche Brothers.

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May not be West Roxbury

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Although the court's called West Roxbury District Court (OK, OK, it's really a division of Boston Municipal Court), it's actually in JP, and its jurisdiction includes Mission Hill, JP, West Roxbury and Roslindale.

I admit: I deliberately did not include the names (and didn't look up where exactly they lived). People who know them already know what's going on and I didn't see why I needed to further embarrass either side - the story itself seemed to be the main thing, not their identities.

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Psycho's

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at RB's and on Centre St? You must have lived or are living a very sheltered life...

You can't blame him for

You can't blame him for posting trite drivel like this. If none of the parties involved was actually driving a car, he just doesn't know who to blame!

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Come back from the dark side

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Not sure what you and the anon are after here. Markk makes a riff on the Judge Judy/People's Court/Judge Mills-esque nature of the spat and it's sexist and condescending? And trite drivel? It's just a dumb joke. Not a total laugher or anything, but not sure it warrants calling names.

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minimizing her name?

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I suspect his comment was found to be condescending because Marky called her Debbie rather than her name, which is Debra.

Unless asked, one should not minimize anyone's name (including me, but I did it anyway ^ up there). And most women (and men) have been made to look and/or treated as bimbo-esque when their names are given an -ie at the end. Witness Marky Mark changing his name to Mark Wahlberg when in acting mode. He wanted to be taken seriously.

It's a good thing the font here doesn't put hearts as the dots on the i's.

Condescending of the genre

I only meant to demean the entire genre of Judge XXX shows on low level and other cable networks pandering to a lowest common denominator audience. Producers of such shows would choose a name like Judge Debbie to make it more "accessible" and friendly to their audience. So, put that on your BBQ and smoke it. Its not all about me and your projections.

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Oh, honey

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So, put that on your BBQ and smoke it. Its not all about me and your projections

Oh, honey, don't get mad at me. I was trying to be helpful and portray one reason as to why someone might find what you wrote condescending.

Oh please. My name is

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Oh please. My name is Patricia - you know how many time people call me Patty? I never thought it was sexist, just too familiar. I quickly correct them and it's done.

Really, people read fault into just about everything. I don't think it used to be like this.

Of all the things you could

Of all the things you could go after Markk for... geez. That's actually funny and this is essentially the type of case you'd see on Judge Judy.

Reminds me of the account

Reminds me of the account Suldog posted on his website about serving on jury duty for a trial of two wacko neighbors who hated each other. That was one of ths funniest things I have ever read.

Limp-wristed justice?

The woman, [...] had denied ever going on his property, let alone destroying his furniture, but then the man produced his video camera and the judge watched a video showing the incident.

And we're not reading about her prosecution for perjury because.....?

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Yes, but...

... the judge could have pointed out the potential penalties for coming into court and lying under oath... (and maybe she did, for all I know).

She did indeed lie

She said that she never went on his property and destroyed things, and he showed a video of her doing exactly that.

That isn't a he-said she-said - that is a "psycho neighbor lies her face off in court".

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I meant ....

... maybe the judge told the lying old lady what kind of trouble she ould be getting herself into. If the judge didn't, the judge should have....

not only allegedly lying

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but also allegedly lying for the purpose of obtaining a restraining order that would be harmful to someone else's reputation.

This seems serious, and if a perjury charge is not being pursued, I would like to know why.

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Sorry

No matter how "fed up" the judge was, she was facing a case of clear-cut perjury (unless the woman has some organic disorder and literally doesn't know what she's doing). I think simply being annoyed at both sides is rather badly missing the point.

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Judge is under no duty to

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Judge is under no duty to inform parties of the consequences of their testimony in a 209a hearing, although if one of the parties is facing criminal charges springing from the incident in question, most judges will inform them that what they say can be used against them.

Most people know the consequences of swearing an oath to tell the truth, then lying. If not, parties can always retain counsel before a hearing. It's not the judge's job to inform a pro se party in a civil hearing of potential collateral consequences.

As far as potential charges go, your ire should be directed at the DA's office, as the judge does not prosecute cases.

No it would not be a waste

Why were the parties in court in the first place?

Because the woman filed a protection order request against her neighbor. People who lie when requesting these types of protection orders need to be punished to send a clear message to all those falsely requesting them, especially in child custody battles.

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I'm not defending this woman

I'm not defending this woman by any means, and if what happened is as described, it looks like it meets the definition of perjury. But the workload of an Asst District Attorney is already overwhelming enough dealing with crimes against persons like we too often read about on this site. They're not going to go after an elderly woman who lies in a property dispute just as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, nor should they imo. The neighbor has civil means he could pursue if so inclined.

Making false statements to get a restraining order?

That's not just a minor lie in a property dispute, that's a pretty serious case of criminal perjury in my book. That's a far more serious matter (and more worthy of the ADA's time) than, say, a fistfight in a bar, or a low-level drug possession charge.

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I may not have....

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I may not have always loved thy neighbor but I've always managed to get along with them.

I'll admit, right now I'm

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I'll admit, right now I'm trying to figure out if my neighbor is dead or not, and that feels gross. But as someone who grew up in urban TX, suburban CA, and expat SE Asia, it's still less gross than actually going over and knocking on the door while the bevy of (what I assume are) female relatives are hanging out, or the handyman/person-of-indeterminate-relation is having the car towed...

Lifetime habits are hard to break and there's still a huge part of me screaming that even if he IS dead, that's his own darn business!

Which is a roundabout way of saying I've never had a conflict with a neighbor either, because it's hard to have conflicts with people you exchange benign pleasantries with about quarterly. I honestly don't know which option is worse. Maybe the occasional conflict would be worth being less isolated.

Someone hung out at District Court today!

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I've loved the stories Adam (at least tell us the neighborhood), but what gives with the reporting from the West Roxbury District Court? Will this be a new UHub feature?

BTW, you gotta love when the TV stations do a live shot from there and put "West Roxbury" as the location. It definitely shows the producer to be a newbie.

A long time ago, I used to do something like that

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Natick District Court only met twice a week, so back when I covered Natick, I'd just go and sit and listen. And got some great stories.

Truth be told, I actually went to West Roxbury court this morning because it sounded like the alleged Orange Line attacker would be arraigned there (turned out he was arraigned in Roxbury; such are the vagaries of alleged assaults on trains passing from JP to Roxbury), but this neighbor dispute was one of the first cases to come up when I sat down and how could I leave in the middle of that?

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the "other case"

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yup, you can always count on some other case popping up to break the monotony of sitting in court for hours. (I was a Street Worker) and spent a lot of time in court doing court advocacy).

Years ago I was in Superior on some other matter and they brought this guy in from the defendant's section... basic facts: met a woman at a downtown club, they went to his house; he attempted to tie her up and torture her; however, she escaped quickly, thus most of the charges were "attempted" but not the full deal. But the whole courtroom went very silent during this because there had previously been a mystery case of a woman who went to a downtown nightclub and turned up dead... no suspects... maybe even a second such case. Everyone in the courtroom was basically thinking/realizing, "oh my God, this is the guy!"