Selena Gomez’s Crazy Stalker Drama
By Alison Parker
Reviewed by Jennifer Williams
Selena Gomez was denied a permanent restraining order in court–but not because her stalker wasn’t deemed threatening enough, but because he failed to appear in court. Although 36-year-old alleged stalker Thomas Bronicki has been released from jail, he currently resides at a psychiatric ward in an unnamed hospital in Los Angeles. The judge did, however, extend Ms. Gomez’s temporary restraining order so that she could have some protection in the meantime until the next hearing, which is scheduled for January 6. If Mr. Bronicki appears for that hearing, the judge will then determine whether a permanent restraining order, which can last for 1-3 years subject to renewal, is warranted.
TMZ.com reported that they felt the judge’s ruling was “bizarre” because, they say, judges issue permanent restraining orders all the time when the alleged stalker isn’t even in court. Seems like TMZ is confused–sure, judges have been known to issue other types of restraining orders without the accused present, such as emergency restraining orders or temporary restraining orders (like the judge did today). And judges will issue permanent restraining orders when one party isn’t in court. For example, in August 2011 Halle Berry succeeded in getting a permanent restraining order against a man who trespassed on her property three times in three days, but she wasn’t present at the hearing. Ms. Berry’s judge clearly thought her presence at the defendant’s hearing was immaterial; it wasn’t her civil liberties that were at stake.
The judge in Ms. Gomez’s case wouldn’t issue a permanent restraining order today because she felt that by doing so, the defendant would be denied due process of the law. And she is right. The due process clause can be found in the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution. In fact, the due process clause is the only command that is contained in the Constitution twice–so the judge was smart to be wary of its demands. It provides that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” It promises that before depriving a person of those fundamental rights, the government must follow fair procedures–and having a defendant present at his own hearing is part of a fair procedure. With the defendant present, he can present evidence to support his case, cross examine the witnesses against him and tell his side of the story. He can even decide to testify if he so chooses. Essentially, he will have his day in court before the judge decides whether to strip him of some of his rights. As is, the restraining order requires that he not come within 100 yards of Ms. Gomez.
And in case you’re wondering, according to the allegations, Ms. Gomez has every reason to be frightened. Mr. Bronicki claims he has had conversations with god about killing her. He believes they are the holy chosen ones of god and says they will reunite in 2016. “One of [his] favorite scenarios is [Selena] flies out here on March 23, 2016. [They] start seeing each other, and [they] don’t even touch each other for a month.” He has even flown from his home in Illinois all the way out to California to see her but was unable to. It will certainly be interesting to see what evidence Mr. Bronicki can come up with to show the judge that a permanent restraining order is unnecessary.