Social Accounts Sprite

FRO Can Be Based on Excessive Calls and Text Messages

By Snyder & Sarno on July 01, 2016


Under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), a victim seeking a Final Restraining Order (FRO) must show by a preponderance of the credible evidence that: (1) the defendant committed one of the predicate acts set forth in the PDVA; and (2) a restraining order is necessary to protect the victim.  Harassment is one of the predicate acts enumerated in the DVA.  Harassment can occur when, with the purpose to harass the victim, the defendant: (1) “[m]akes . . . communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;” or (2) “[e]ngages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy” the victim.

In S.K.E. v. C.J.C., the Appellate Division affirmed a FRO based on the trial court’s finding that in a 15-hour period, C.J.C. made or sent a combined total of 20 to 40 phone calls and text messages to S.K.E.  Most of the calls and messages contained vulgarity, some of them contained threats, and two of them had graphic sexual images.  C.J.C. and S.K.E. were never married, but dated for some time and had a child together.  After an earlier domestic violence incident, C.J.C. obtained a FRO against S.K.E., which restrained S.K.E. from contacting her.  While that FRO was in place, C.J.C. began harassing S.K.E. with calls and texts, prompting S.K.E. to obtain an FRO that restrained S.K.E. from contacting him.  C.J.C. appealed.

The trial judge found S.K.E.’s testimony to be credible because it was corroborated by text messages that he had saved, and by phone records C.J.C. had presented. The Appellate Division affirmed that C.J.C. committed harassment because the 20 to 40 calls and texts in one day constituted “communications” and “repeatedly committed acts,” and that they contained “offensively coarse language.”  The number and content of the communications sent indicate that C.J.C.’s purpose was to alarm or seriously annoy S.K.E.

The Appellate Division also affirmed the trial judge’s finding that an FRO was necessary to protect S.K.E.  S.K.E. and his girlfriend testified that C.J.C. had been calling and texting S.K.E. in a similar manner—but to a lesser extent—over the preceding months.  The trial judge found that this pattern of harassment only ceased after S.K.E. filed a complaint and got a restraining order.  The trial judge also characterized the parties’ relationship as “volatile”.

If you have an issue with domestic violence, contact the skilled family law attorneys at Snyder Sarno D’Aniello Maceri & da Costa LLC.  Call us today at (973) 274-5200.

Related to This

desktop-only

Message Us

"I was involved in a VERY complicated and tumultuous child custody, divorce, domestic violence case for two full years. I was fortunate enough to be represented by one of the top matrimonial teams in the state of NJ, and the outcome in my case exceeded my every expectation." - Former Client

"Paul personally stood by my side and represented me throughout my injury case. Whether it was business at hand, advice, or a late night phone call to help me understand what was going on; he never took a step back towards helping me. I knew that I could call on him at any time . My case was very successful and I attribute that to Paul's dedication . He even came to me during a snow storm when I could not make it to his office. I certainly would recommend him to anyone." - Former Client

X CLOSE

Bergen County Office

401 Hackensack Ave
Ste 706
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Closed Today

Essex County Office

425 Eagle Rock Ave
Ste 202
Roseland, NJ 07068

Closed Today

Somerset County Office

440 Route 22 E
Ste 170
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Closed Today

X CLOSE

Message Us

X CLOSE

X CLOSE

Popular Tags