How You Can Earn Yourself A Restraining Order

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Doug was a businessman, investor, and author of 11 books.  He did not have a criminal history of violence, and had never had a restraining order imposed on him.  He and Yuko for a while.  They broke up.  There the stories change.  According to Doug he dumped Yuko, and then moved on.  He got a new girlfriend, and never looked back.  Unfortunately, according to Doug, Yuko could not do the same.  Instead she began a course of stalking him.

According to Yuko the couple dated casually from January 2009 to December 2009.  She ended the relationship in February 2010.  From the end of March 2010 through June 2010, Doug called her six to nine times a day and tried to convince her to continue their relationship.  He told her that she needed “professional help” because she was breaking up with a “great man” and did not realize what she was losing.  About 1:00 p.m. on August 23, 2010, Doug called Yuko and told her that he “went” to the hotel that was located across the street from her condominium building and saw her driving away.  When she returned home at 5:00 p.m., Doug was sitting in front of the hotel facing the entrance to Yuko’s building.  Noticing Doug’s presence, Yuko parked a block from her building and sneaked in the building’s back entrance.  Every 15 minutes, Yuko checked to see if Doug remained across the street.  About 7:00 p.m., Yuko observed that Doug had moved from the hotel’s entrance to his car which was located south of Yuko’s building.  Doug sat in his car until 8:00 p.m.  On August 27, 2010, Doug faxed to Yuko’s home a three page letter containing allegations that Yuko described as “bizarre, disgusting, and entirely false statement concerning [her] sexuality.”   Doug disguised his identity in the letter by using the name “Krissy Misty.”  The letter purported to be “cc’d” to various people including the principal at the school at which Yuko worked.  In the letter, Doug stated that he would disclose the false information to persons Yuko knew.

Yuko filed an application for domestic violence restraining orders against Doug.  He cried foul, said he did nothing wrong, and claimed he was the real victim.     At the hearing on the request for a restraining order, Yuko testified that the fax was sent from an Office Max in Cypress.  The day after she received the fax, Yuko drove to the Office Max where she spoke with the manager and two employees who helped a man send the fax.  The employees stated that the man arrived with a woman.  According to Yuko, Mori’s girlfriend worked near the Office Max.

The Office Max employees described the man as white, tall, and wearing gold jewelry.  The trial court observed that on the date of the hearing Doug was wearing “a lot” of gold jewelry.  Doug responded that he always wore a lot of gold jewelry.  Doug denied ever having been to the Office Max in Cypress and testified that he did not know “Kristy Misty.”  Yuko testified that on October 12, 2010, she received a blank e-mail from “Kristy Misty” sent to Yuko’s work e-mail address.  Doug admitted that in 1988 or 1989 he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and spent five or six years in jail.  The case apparently centered on false financial documents.  Doug stated that one of his partners had false financial documents and he and his partner believed that they had been “hometowned” “big time.”

The trial court found Yuko to be more credible than Doug.  The trial court found that Yuko met her burden of proof and issued a restraining order that would expire on November 4, 2013.  Doug was discontent with the decision of the trial court, so he appealed.  He argues that the trial court abused its discretion in issuing the restraining order under the Domestic Violence Prevent Act (DVPA) (Fam. Code, § 6200 et seq.) because Yuko did not provide evidence of a prior act of violence or sexual abuse.  The appellate disagreed with jewelry clad Mr. D.

A.    Standard of Review
The grant or denial of a protective order under the DVPA is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.  (Gonzalez v. Munoz (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 413, 420.)  “‘The appropriate test for abuse of discretion is whether the trial court exceeded the bounds of reason.  When two or more inferences can reasonably be deduced from the facts, the reviewing court has no authority to substitute its decision for that of the trial court.’  [Citation.]”  (Ibid.)

B.    Application of Relevant Principles
Under the DVPA, “a court may issue a protective order to restrain any person for the purpose of preventing a recurrence of domestic violence and ensuring a period of separation of the persons involved.  (§§ 6220, 6300.)”  (Conness v. Satram (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 197, 200.)  “Under the DVPA, ‘domestic violence’ is defined, in relevant part, as abuse perpetrated against ‘[a] person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating . . . relationship.’  (§ 6211, subd. (c).)  ‘Abuse’ is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or sexual assault, or placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another, or engaging in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to section 6320.  (§ 6203.)  The behavior outlined in section 6320 includes ‘. . . harassing, telephoning, . . . contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party . . . .’  (§ 6320.)  Thus, the requisite abuse need not be actual infliction of physical injury or assault.  (Hogoboom & King, Cal. Practice Guide: Family Law (The Rutter Group 2004) ¶ 5:67, p. 5-24.)”  (Id. at pp. 201-202.)
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the restraining order.  The trial court questioned Blankenship’s credibility and found Mori more convincing than Blankenship.  Mori stated that she and Blankenship had a prior dating relationship—a point Blankenship does not dispute.  Mori stated that after she ended her relationship with Blankenship in February 2010, Blankenship called her six to nine times a day from the end of March 2010 through June 2010, in an effort to convince her to continue their relationship.  According to Mori, early in the afternoon on August 23, 2010, Blankenship called her and notified her that he was at the hotel across the street from her condominium building and he had seen her driving away.  When Mori returned home at 5:00 p.m., Blankenship was sitting in front of the hotel facing the entrance to Mori’s building.  Mori felt the need to park away from her building and sneak in the building’s back entrance.  Blankenship remained at the hotel across the street from Mori’s building or parked in his car nearby until 8:00 p.m.  On August 27, 2010, Blankenship faxed to Mori’s home a three page letter containing allegations that Mori described as “bizarre, disgusting, and entirely false statement concerning [her] sexuality.”  The letter indicated that copies of the letter had been sent to the principal at the school at which Mori worked and to others.  In the letter, Blankenship stated that he would disclose the false information to persons Mori knew.  Blankenship’s telephone calls, faxed letter, and harassing conduct constitute “domestic violence” within the meaning of the DVPA.  (Conness v. Satram, supra, 122 Cal.App.4th at pp. 201-202.)  Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the restraining order.

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