Judge denied restraining order month before woman was shot

Nov. 18—The New Hampshire judicial system has launched an internal review of a Hampton Family Division judge's decision to deny a restraining order against a man who shot and critically wounded his ex-girlfriend at her workplace on Monday.

The New Hampshire court system announced the review on Thursday afternoon after coming under criticism in the case.

The victim, a 33-year-old former Hampton resident, is in a Boston hospital after being shot at her workplace in Salem, Mass. In October, a Hampton Family Division judge rejected her request for a restraining order against the shooter, Richard Lorman, 55, of Wilton. He apparently shot and killed himself after shooting the woman.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, the court system said that Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald, the highest ranking judge in New Hampshire, called for an internal review of the Larmon case.

The statement said the judiciary will also create a task force to conduct a systemic review of domestic violence cases in the court system. A day earlier, New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence called for such a review.

"The victim clearly showed in her petition that she was in immediate danger, and we are devastated to learn a final restraining order was denied in this case," read a statement from Amanda Grady Sexton, public affairs director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Gov. Chris Sununu called the shooting an absolute tragedy. He said he contacted the state court system after it was brought to his attention.

Forty-three percent of final protective orders are denied in New Hampshire, sometimes when the victim has suffered serious injuries and a criminal investigation is ongoing, Sexton said.

On Sept. 21, the shooting victim filed a domestic violence petition against Lorman, claiming behavior that was sexually violent and coercive had been going on for years, according to court records.

"You can't trust anything to be OK anymore. I am going to turn your world upside down," he told her last Labor Day after tracking her down to Marblehead, Mass., according to the petition for a restraining order.

She said Lorman also had hinted that a mutual acquaintance would be after her, reorganized his guns in front of her and threatened to continue a campaign of harassment unless she submitted to his sexual demands.

Hampton Family Division Judge Polly Hall issued a temporary restraining against Lorman, but later, on Oct. 20, ruled that the victim had not met the legal definition of abuse.

"On the evidence presented, the court cannot find (Lorman's) conduct constitutes a credible present danger to the Plaintiff's safety," Hall wrote.

The Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence said the court system should launch a comprehensive review of all recent restraining orders to ensure that judges are following all laws and protocols. The coalition also wants advanced training on domestic violence for all judges presiding over cases involving restraining orders.

The court system said the internal review should take about a week to complete, and once the findings are submitted to the Supreme Court, they will be made public. Circuit Court Judge Susan Caron will head the review.

Carbon is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and former director of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Violence Against Women.

The systemic review of domestic violence cases will be conducted by a task force chaired by Associate Supreme Court Judge Anna Barbara Hantz Marconi.

It will include the Domestic Violence Coalition, prosecutors, police, defense counsel and others. It will seek assistance from national court consultants, the Judiciary said.