Temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders
Appellate Docket No.: A-4735-18T3; and
Appellate Docket No. A-4626-18T3.
Submitted by New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a pair of unpublished opinions, the Appellate Division of New Jersey heard argument on the issue of the imposition of a final restraining order.
In J.F. v. L.F., both parties appeared pro se at the FRO plenary hearing. The trial court found that L.F. committed the predicate act of harassment by driving past J.F.’s house repeatedly and by “posting” her vehicle near his house for approximately five hours. The trial court entered a Final Restraining Order against the Defendant.
The Defendant appealed, and the Appellate Division found that the trial court did not permit the Defendant to cross examine the Plaintiff with regard to the recitation of the facts. The trial court also did not permit Defendant to ask Plaintiff questions, or provide additional proofs supporting her defense. The Appellate Division found that cross examine is a right to a Defendant’s due process, and reversed the imposition of the FRO.
In J.M. v. D.W., plaintiff filed a complaint seeking a temporary restraining order against defendant. The complaint alleged plaintiff broke off her relationship with defendant in March and defendant refused to comply with plaintiff’s wishes and continued to try to meet and be in a relationship with her. Plaintiff also alleged defendant knocked on her bedroom window “to get her attention.” She further asserted that defendant appeared at her sister’s house, and, when plaintiff left in her vehicle, defendant followed in his vehicle through three municipalities, driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed.
At the final restraining order hearing plaintiff testified defendant is her former boyfriend, and she received multiple missed calls from him on her phone. Plaintiff said she went to her sister’s house; she did not tell defendant she was there; defendant “somehow found out where she was. She saw defendant drive up to her sister’s house in a vehicle. According to plaintiff, when she saw defendant, she drove away, and defendant began to follow her and cut her off.” She reached speeds of 70 mph while defendant tried to cut her off.
Plaintiff further explained that during the couple of months prior to the incident, defendant on “maybe” three occasions went to her window at night and at other times “talked down on” her.
Defendant disputed these facts, and claimed that while he initially began to follow her in his car, he did not continue because he did not want the plaintiff to get hurt.
The trial court entered a final restraining order against the defendant on the basis of harassment. Defendant hired Jeffrey S. Hark to file an appeal.
Hark argued and the Appellate Division agreed that the trial court failed to adequately state supporting facts on the record for its decision to impose an FRO against defendant on the basis of harassment. The trial court also failed to make an findings as to why the FRO was necessary, as required by Silver v. SIlver. Because of these inadequate findings, Jeffrey Hark was successful in appealing the imposition of the FRO. The case was remanded for an additional hearing for the trial court to address these concerns on the record and to allow the parties to argue that there should or should not be any imposition of the FRO.
Temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders should not be taken lightly. They have harsh adverse consequences and defendants charged with domestic violence should defendant the claims vigorously.
At Hark & Hark, Jeffrey Hark and his team represent clients in Superior Court for family law and domestic violence matters like the present case. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to ensure our client’s rights are protected.
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.