On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Ocean County, Docket No. FV-15-001777-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 15, 2008
Before Judges Skillman and Yannotti.
Defendant appeals from a final restraining order entered in favor of plaintiff on March 20, 2007, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
On March 6, 2007, plaintiff filed a domestic violence complaint, in which she alleged that defendant sent an e-mail message threatening plaintiff and her boyfriend. Plaintiff alleged that on February 20, 2007, defendant stated that he would bring a knife to school and kill her. Plaintiff claimed that in October 2006, defendant stalked her and sat outside her home.
She further alleged that defendant constantly sent her text messages threatening to harm her physically. On March 6, 2007, the court entered a temporary restraining order that, among other things, prohibited defendant from: making or causing someone else to make harassing communications to plaintiff; committing future acts of domestic violence; and possessing weapons.
On March 14, 2007, and March 20, 2007, the judge conducted a hearing on plaintiff's application for a final restraining order. Plaintiff testified that she was seventeen years old, and defendant was eighteen. Defendant is plaintiff's ex-boyfriend. She had been dating him on and off for about six months, and the relationship ended in December 2004.
Plaintiff asserted that on February 19, 2007, defendant sent her about forty text messages on her cell phone in which he stated that he wanted to fight her boyfriend, said that he was not happy with her, and called her "names." Plaintiff asserted that it was "just a lot of harassment all day long during school." Plaintiff testified that she did not believe that the situation was "really that bad because it was just text messages." She stated, however, that the messages were distracting because she had received a lot of them while at school.
Plaintiff additionally stated that "things got worse" and "escalated" the next day, February 20, 2007. Plaintiff had reported the matter to the school principal and, after the principal spoke with him, defendant sent her more text messages. According to plaintiff, defendant tried to put her in "complete fear and shock." Plaintiff said that she could not concentrate and had to leave school because defendant "kept saying how he wanted to kill [her]."
Plaintiff asserted that she did not feel that she had done anything wrong. She only wanted to try "to live [her] life and be with a person who [she] wanted to be with." Plaintiff also stated that defendant sent her a voice mail, which was about two minutes long, in which he screamed and said that he wanted to kill her. The message was played in court. In it, defendant stated, among other things, "I will fucking murder you, Okay?" He also said, "Seriously, you're dead. You are so dead."
Plaintiff stated that she also received a "bunch" of threatening text messages on February 20, 2007.
Plaintiff additionally testified that, a few weeks before, around February 1, 2007, she was at home with her mother and brother. Plaintiff saw defendant parked in his car outside of the house. According to plaintiff, defendant was staring into the windows of her home. Plaintiff also said that in October 2005, she obtained a "no contact" order against defendant because of the continuing harassment. Plaintiff ...