Violation of a Protection Order
District of Columbia
In Re Herschel D. Shirley, 2011 D.C. App. LEXIS 307
The victim was granted a CPO against the defendant, her then boyfriend of a year. Among other orders, the CPO enjoined the defendant from calling the victim’s workplace, email, or text message the victim, and explicitly warned, in bold lettering, that “failure to comply with this order is a criminal offense” and that “only the court can change this order.” The defendant then phoned the victim twice and text-messaged her once. The defendant was convicted of three counts of contempt after violating the CPO. He appealed, contending that the conviction could not stand because the victim consented to a violation of the CPO by participating in the couple’s efforts to reconcile. The court rejected this argument, explaining that the victim’s consent could not modify a CPO. The court upheld the conviction.
People v. Welte, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1439
The defendant was charged with Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree in violation of P.L. 215.50(3) and Stalking in the Fourth Degree in violation of P.L. 120.45(2). The complaint alleged that the defendant violated a no contact protection order, which stated that the defendant have no contact with the mother of his children, “including personal or through third person.” The defendant gained access to her friend’s list on Facebook and utilized it to contact and communicate with her friends and family members. In these communications, he accused the mother of using their children against him to prevent him from seeing or communicating with the children. In turn, the mother alleged that the defendant was intentionally indirectly contacting her because she would hear of the allegations from those friends and families. The court rejected these arguments, concluding that communications to a person’s friend’s list on Facebook does not constitute a violation of a no contact order of protection. It reasoned that this behavior would not normally violate any provision of law, that the defendant was not directed to stay away from her friends and family, and that a friend’s list is distinct from a third person. The court also rejected the argument for the stalking charge because the government failed to establish the four elements of Stalking in the Fourth Degree: lack of legitimate purpose, course of conduct, material harm, and a previous demand to cease the specific conduct. The charges against the defendant were therefore dropped.
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