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State v. Huttmann

October 30, 2006

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
KEVIN HUTTMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FO-14-109-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 12, 2006

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Sabatino.

After a one-day bench trial on March 7, 2006, defendant Kevin Huttmann was convicted of contempt for violating an outstanding domestic violence restraining order, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b). He was sentenced to a one-year term of probation, conditioned on a mental health evaluation, and fifty hours of community service. Defendant appeals the Family Part judge's finding of guilt, which we affirm.

The pertinent facts are as follows. Defendant had a dating relationship with K.S.*fn1 from May 2004 through the early part of 2005. Shortly after their relationship ended, K.S. procured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against defendant in the Family Part, on or about March 25, 2005.*fn2 A Final Restraining Order (FRO) was issued several days later on March 30, 2005. The FRO contains a finding by the Family Part judge that defendant committed domestic violence by his "continued harassing communication" with K.S. As is customary, the FRO continued to prohibit defendant from having contact with K.S. and also required defendant to surrender any firearms in his possession.

The evidence from the contempt trial shows that on July 13, 2005, at about 7:30 in the morning, defendant went to the private gym where K.S. was doing her routine workout. Defendant approached the treadmill where K.S. was exercising. He started to pace in front of her and yell. According to K.S., defendant was ranting about his displeasure with her actions and about his desire to recover his hunting weapons from the police. This irate behavior caused K.S. to get off the treadmill and run to the front desk, where she asked an employee to call 9-1-1 for her. Defendant then fled the building.

Less than five minutes later, a local police officer, Patrolman James Lommatzsch, responded to the emergency call. The patrolman interviewed K.S., who he found to be "very upset [and] very excited." She explained what had transpired at the treadmill. The patrolman next interviewed defendant, who was sitting in his car in the gym parking lot and who likewise appeared to be upset. According to the patrolman's trial testimony, defendant admitted to speaking to K.S. Defendant advised the patrolman that he had specifically asked K.S. to drop her restraining order in order to get back his guns and other belongings. The patrolman then verified that an active restraining order against defendant was in place. The officer arrested the defendant and drove him to police headquarters, where a contempt citation was prepared.

Two witnesses testified at the contempt trial: Patrolman Lommatzsch and the complainant K.S. Defendant did not testify or produce any witnesses. Following the testimony and the arguments of counsel, Judge Thomas Weisenbeck found defendant guilty of violating the domestic violence restraints and imposed the penalties we have already noted.

On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT I

THE COURT BELOW ERRED BY CONVICTING THE APPELLANT OF VIOLATING A FINAL RESTRAINING ORDER (FRO) OF WHICH THE APPELLANT ...


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