Court keeps protective order in place for 32nd District lawmaker

Photo courtesy Getty Images via the Washington State Standard

A domestic violence restraining order obtained by a 32nd District state lawmaker against her lobbyist ex-boyfriend will remain in effect under an appellate court ruling issued Monday.

Rep. Lauren Davis, a Democrat from Shoreline, obtained a five-year protection order in King County against lobbyist Cody Arledge in May 2022, citing what she said was an escalating pattern of obsessive and threatening behavior after she ended their relationship the prior year.

As a 32nd District lawmaker, Davis represents portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood, as well as Woodway and Mountlake Terrace.

Under terms of the no-contact order, Arledge cannot go within 1,000 feet of Davis’ home or her workplace, defined as the state Capitol and adjacent John L. O’Brien Building that houses state representatives’ offices, unless she is not at the Capitol.

In addition, he was required for one year to wear an ankle bracelet with GPS monitoring alerting authorities and Davis via a phone app if he violated those conditions. Last month, the requirement was renewed for a second year because he had violated the order.

Arledge sued, arguing a trial court abused its discretion in issuing the protective order and violated his constitutional rights in requiring around-the-clock electronic GPS monitoring. A three-member Division I Court of Appeals panel disagreed on both points.

“I have a deep sense of relief after an arduous, nearly two-year legal battle,” Davis said. “More than anything, I am incredibly heartened by what this decision means for other survivors. The act of seeking a protection order is so frequently a precursor to domestic homicide that it has a name – ‘retaliation violence’.”

David Donnan, Arledge’s attorney, said, “Obviously we are disappointed in the result.”

A decision on whether to appeal Monday’s decision hasn’t been made, he said, noting he is still reviewing the ruling’s detailed analysis.

A two-year legal fight

Davis represents the 32nd Legislative District which includes Shoreline, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. Arledge, a lobbyist, owns The Arledge Group.

Davis and Arledge met through work in 2018 and began a romantic relationship in 2019. She said she tried ending the relationship in 2020 and 2021, but due to a “pattern of control and manipulation,” she “return[ed] to the relationship,” according to court documents.

On Nov. 10, 2021, Davis petitioned for a protection order, alleging that she feared Arledge because his “stalking behavior has escalated substantially,” and he has “made threats of suicide in the past, has a severe substance use disorder, and has a number of firearms,” the ruling said.

In response, Arledge denied his conduct amounted to domestic violence. Arledge also contended the electronic monitoring violated his right to privacy as spelled out in the state and federal constitutions.

Justice Bill Bowman, who wrote Monday’s opinion, concluded that the monitoring imposed by the lower court did not tread on Arledge’s constitutional “right to privacy and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

“The electronic monitoring device passively records his location,” he wrote. “So, any intrusion into Arledge’s privacy is not permanent, and the degree of the intrusion is limited.”

A new law, authored by Davis, aims to strengthen Washington’s safety net for victims in domestic violence cases.

It contains provisions for crafting a model policy for the use of electronic monitoring, with victim notification technology, and establishing a research center at the University of Washington to identify the most effective strategies for preventing violence among intimate partners.

Davis said she hoped Monday’s decision “paves the way for the broader use of electronic monitoring in civil protection order cases.”

“This common-sense technology is life-saving for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” she said. “It has given me my life back and I am eternally grateful.”

— By Jerry Cornfield, Washington State Standard

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Bill Lucia for questions: Follow Washington State Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

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