Credibility Often Times Is the Sole Deciding Factor as to Whether a Final Restraining Order (FRO) Should Be Granted
DOCKET NO. A-2834-21
Decided March 31, 2023
Submitted by New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished decision, the Appellate Division of New Jersey affirmed the entry of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) even after the plaintiff moved to Florida.
In B.B. v. K.K.C., The parties dated from approximately October 2020 until March 2021. Plaintiff was pregnant with the parties’ child and spent the night in defendant’s home when the April 13 incident occurred. She testified the dispute arose because she refused to have an abortion. Defendant verbally abused plaintiff because he wanted her out of his house. He began to threaten her and break her belongings. She claimed he grabbed her by both arms, banged her head against a concrete wall in the garage, and tried to throw her down the stairs. Plaintiff testified her head and arms were bruised and an arm “was really hurting” her. She adduced a photo showing bruising to her right arm. Plaintiff called the police and during the twenty minutes before their arrival defendant was threatening her “the entire time.” She did not tell the police about the physical abuse because of defendant’s threats, and she lied to them to protect defendant. Plaintiff remained in the home while defendant spent the night out of the house. The following morning, plaintiff left the house because she was afraid and texted defendant to tell him she was out.
Plaintiff alleged a prior history of domestic violence. She claimed on January 30, 2021, defendant told her he knew where she was all the time because he hired a private investigator to follow her. Defendant relayed details of plaintiff’s whereabouts that led her to believe he was tracking her. Between March 7 and March 15, 2021, plaintiff returned to her mother’s home in Florida to “reset.”
Defendant denied stalking, controlling, threatening, or harming the plaintiff in any way.
The trial judge found plaintiff credible when she testified defendant attacked her in the garage. Plaintiff’s failure to tell the police about defendant’s abuse on April 13, 2021 did not impact her credibility because defendant had assaulted and threatened her if she spoke to police. The judge also found the FRO was necessary, even if plaintiff moved to Florida, because of the nature of the assault and continued threats of violence.
Defendant appealed and the Appellate Division affirmed the entry of the FRO, finding no abuse of discretion from the trial judge.
The case is important to understand credibility often times is the sole deciding factor as to whether a Final Restraining Order (FRO) should be granted, or whether the FRO should be denied and the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) should be dismissed. Here, plaintiff’s specific recollection of events along with defendant’s behavior, simple denial of events, and social media posts that put him in a bad light, lead to plaintiff being found credible and an FRO entered against defendant.
If you have a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against someone else or against yourself, contact the experienced attorneys at Hark & Hark today. There are several things attorneys can do to bolster your credibility and damage the credibility of the other party. Do not wait until court because if you are the defendant and an FRO is put against you or if you are the plaintiff and your TRO is dismissed it is significantly more difficult to overturn the result! Contact Hark & Hark today! We help clients with domestic violence, FROs, TROs, prenups, divorce, custody, child support, alimony, adoptions and more.
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We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing domestic violence charges similar to this circumstance, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, and Salem counties. We represent clients in all towns in New Jersey, including Borough of Clayton, Township of Elk, East Greenwich Township, Township of Logan, Township of Mantua, Township of Monroe, Borough of National Park, Township of Harrison, Borough of Paulsboro, Borough of Pitman, Township of Greenwich, Township of South Harrison, Borough of Swedesboro, Township of Franklin, Borough of Newfield, Township of West Deptford, Township of Washington, City of Woodbury, Borough of Woodbury Heights, Borough of Westville, Borough of Glassboro, Township of Woolwich, Township of Deptford, and Borough of Wenonah.
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