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Family Law

Domestic Abuse in the Age of Alexa

Josie Sustaire

Technological innovations offer tools to keep us comfortable and safe in our homes. Google’s Alexa, Amazaon’s Echo, and Alphabet’s Nest each offer smart home products that can help adjust the music, lighting, and temperature of each room in the home, even remotely. Internet-connected locks and cameras offer peace of mind and security. These products are powerful tools. Recently, however, domestic abuse hotlines have been flooded with frightened spouses and domestic partners whose internet connected thermostats, locks, and security cameras are being used as a means to threaten and harass. As Nellie Bowles describes in her New York Times article, these calls have some domestic hotline workers scrambling to find answers for victims.

Digital technology is increasingly used in domestic abuse. The same tools that offer security and peace of mind, in the hands of abusers, can leave spouses and domestic partners feeling like prisoners in their own homes.

Real Life Examples: Ingrid and Susan.

Ingrid separated from her violent partner, Scott, and moved to a women’s shelter with her daughter, Emily. She kept the address of the shelter secret from Scott so she and her daughter would be safe. Yet somehow, Scott discovered the address. Distressed, Ingrid left the shelter to stay with friends. Again, Scott managed to discover where she was. She decided he must have been tracking her. But how? Then she remembered Scott had given Emily a doll. He had insisted that Emily keep it with her. She opened up the back of the doll and found a GPS device.

Susan explained how her partner installed cameras throughout the house. One day as she came out of the bathroom, naked, the camera moved towards her, following her. She realized he was able to access the cameras remotely and “spy” on her. Susan separated from her partner and now lives with her parents. There are cameras installed at her parents’ home too, but she feels that they keep her safe.
Reported September 12, 2017

Under Oregon law, victims of domestic abuse can file for Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Order ORS 107.700-107.735.
If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic abuse, call our attorneys today. We are here to help.

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Elder Law

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sues his children, alleges misuse of finances

As reported in Associated Press by Mike Schneider

Buzz Aldrin receives an award during the EarthxGlobal Gala on April 20, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for EarthX)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin is suing two of his children and a former business manager, accusing them of misusing his credit cards, transferring money from an account and slandering him by saying he has dementia.

Aldrin’s lawsuit filed earlier this month in a Florida state court came a week after his children, Andrew and Janice, filed a petition claiming their father was suffering from memory loss, delusions, paranoia and confusion. They asked for the court to name them his legal guardians, saying Aldrin was associating with new friends who were trying to alienate Aldrin from his family and that he had been spending his assets at “an alarming rate.”

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