Appellate Court Decided Defendant’s Appeal of a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) Entered Against Her and In Favor of the Plaintiff Based on the Predicate Act of Assault
Docket No. A-0738-21
Decided October 6, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal of a final restraining order (“FRO”) entered against her and in favor of the plaintiff based on the predicate act of assault.
At the FRO hearing, the trial judge found plaintiff’s testimony to be credible after observing his body language, his testimony, and his eye contact. The trial judge also found the plaintiff’s testimony to be consistent with the initial allegations contained in the complaint and not completely inconsistent with defendant’s testimony. The judge did not find the defendant’s testimony credible. The judge determined that plaintiff was assaulted by defendant through her credible testimony concerning the predicate acts and his equally reliable testimony concerning defendant’s past history of domestic violence.
On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court did not provide the parties with the consequences of a FRO and did not advise the defendant of her right to an attorney. Additionally, defendant contended that the plaintiff did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant’s actions constituted as assault, and that a FRO was necessary for defendant’s protection in the future.
The Appellate Court determined that there was no reason to second-guess the trial court’s determination and affirmed their ruling. The court reasoned that the evidence more than amply demonstrated the judge’s determination that plaintiff needed an FRO to protect him and his four-year-old son from further acts of domestic violence. The court rejected defendant’s argument that the admission of plaintiff’s son’s alleged hearsay statements warrants reversal, since she failed to object to the admission of these statements at the hearing and their admission was not clearly capable of producing an unjust result. The Appellate Court believed the trial court put slight weight on the alleged hearsay statements and much more reliance in the judge primarily relied on plaintiff’s testimony about the subject assault, defendant’s prior assaultive behavior, and the inevitable future interactions between the parties who are soon-to-be co-parents in determining whether the issuance of the FRO was appropriate in this case.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to FRO hearings. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.
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