On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Somerset County, FO-18-138-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 9, 2006
Before Judges Stern, Collester and Sabatino.
Defendant Michael DeAndrea appeals his criminal contempt conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b) for violating a domestic violence temporary restraining order (TRO).
On August 3, 2005, his wife, Elizabeth, filed a complaint under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued which alleged harassment after a spousal argument earlier that evening which barred defendant from "the residence of plaintiff," the marital home at 294 Long Hill Road, Hillsborough Township. The TRO was served on defendant at his friend's house at about 12:15 a.m. by Hillsborough Police Officer Craig Heindrichs, who accompanied defendant back to the marital home to retrieve personal belongings. Heindrichs explained to defendant that if he forgot anything, he was to call the Hillsborough Police Department to arrange for an officer to accompany him into the house. Defendant took some personal belongings and left without incident. Officer Heindrichs remained for a few moments talking to Mrs. DeAndrea. After he left, Mrs. DeAndrea took the children and went to spend the night at her next door neighbor's house at 296 Long Hill Road.
Mrs. DeAndrea later testified that about five minutes after she left her home, she saw her husband's pick-up truck pull into the driveway of the marital home. She called 9-1-1 to report that defendant returned to the house. The police dispatcher radioed Officer Heindrichs at 12:44 a.m., and he returned to Long Hill road, arriving five or six minutes later. He testified:
When I pulled up there, Mr. DeAndrea was parked in his blue pickup truck on the southbound shoulder. He was facing northbound. He was parked in between 294 and 296 Long Hill Road. As I was coming up there, he started pulling away. At that time I stopped him and had him exit his vehicle.
On cross-examination there was the following exchange:
Q: Okay. Did it appear to you that the defendant was trying to flee the scene, in your -- in your opinion or your observation?
A: I thought he was trying to leave the scene. I'm not sure if flee is --
Q: Okay. Do you recall how fast he was driving?
Q: Okay. Did the defendant actually -- when you stopped him, I ...