How protective is a protective order? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

How protective is a protective order?

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

We're learning more about the sometimes violent history between the victim, 30-year-old Jelena Sriraman, and her ex-husband James Calvert, accused of her murder.

But there are still so many questions. Could he have been stopped from taking her life? Records show a protective order had been put into effect to keep Jelena safe, but Calvert violated that three times.

Protective orders can last for up to two years, but can always be modified or extended before they expire. According to Smith County judicial records, Jelena Sriraman no longer had a protective order protecting her from her ex-husband, despite a history of his violating orders issued by a judge.

Records show the last protective order signed by a judge was issued in May 2010, meaning that order would have expired about six months ago.

Family law attorney Linda Hoak says the judicial system does its best to protect victims from abuse.

But could the law do more, especially when a piece of paper doesn't mean a thing to the person posing the threat?

"Some of the people who commit these acts don't have a respect for the judicial system. They don't care what's on the piece of paper, so it makes no difference to them," Hoak says.

Sometimes there are few warning signs. We may never know if that was the case for Jelena.

Those who knew her well say Jelena wanted her children to have a relationship with their father, despite any problems the two had in the past.

"She respected him as their father and she wanted that and that says a lot about her," says Jelena's friend Jennifer Deck.

Regardless of how long it may have been since Jelena and Calvert experienced personal problems, family violence experts say when a woman or man establishes a sense of independence and self-sufficiency, that can be alarming to their former spouse.

"If he starts to see that she doesn't need him, she's moving on, she's remarried in the case we've just had recently.. [that's a ] total loss of control for him," says Keisha Morris, family violence coordinator at East Texas Crisis Center.

"From what I understand, she was seeking permission from the court to relocate to Houston. So, I don't know what happened as a result of that jury verdict, but I'm thinking it had a large part in what motivated him emotionally to react the way that he did," Hoak says.

When a serious threat is still present, it's important to know the protective order can always be extended.
Whether Jelena was no longer feeling threatened or knew the order had expired, we may never know.

Experts did say that the majority of protective orders do work and keep people safe. They add that family violence is not just a personal problem, but it is something affects the entire community. Tyler residents experienced that first hand Wednesday when multiple schools were put on lock down and neighborhood streets were blocked off.

The East Texas Crisis Center provides counseling and personal safety planning. For more information click HERE.


Related story: Lucas Calvert, sister to be reunited with step dad 

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