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Brauner v. Rheinbaben

May 9, 2008

PAUL BRAUNER, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CONSTANZE VON RHEINBABEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Morris County, FV-14-0192-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 22, 2008

Before Judges Coburn, Grall and Chambers.

Defendant, Constanze Von Rheinbaben, appeals from a final restraining order ("FRO") issued pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (the "Act"), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35.

I.

The judge made the following findings of fact:

The parties had a dating relationship. That relationship started sometime in December of 2005 and it ended sometime by the end of February 2006.

On June 13th, 2007, at about seven in the evening, the defendant came out of his house in Madison on his way to the gym and he saw a person whom he recognized as the defendant across the street from his home, turning the corner. She ducked her head several times to avoid being further observed, turning the corner and running away down Pomeroy Street. The plaintiff, wanting to confirm what he believed to be the case, approached the defendant and said what are you doing here. Her response was I have to be close, I still love you, I can't stay away. The plaintiff responded, why shouldn't I go to the police, I'm getting married in three weeks, with an eleven-year-old soon to be stepson. The defendant responded that she promised she wouldn't come back. The plaintiff went to the police station and reported the incident.

After he walked out of the police station, which is across the street from the railroad station in Madison, he saw her [defendant] on the platform and approached her and said, I just want you to know I've just filed a report, they told me to go to the Morris County Courthouse tomorrow, but you've got to stop. Her response was, I love you. The plaintiff responded, you can't say that, Constanze, you've got to leave me alone.

There's a prior history here of domestic violence. There's an incident that occurred about three weeks after the -- the parties broke up. Now we're in March of '06, it was a Sunday morning, the defendant calls the plaintiff and she asks him, can I come out to Madison. He says, no, we're done. The defendant responds, I can't get you out of my head; can you come into New York. Plaintiff responds, no, we're done, hangs up the phone. Three hours later plaintiff, at his home in Madison, hears a pounding on his door; opens the door to find . . . the defendant standing there and in a loud voice she is reading a letter to him. The plaintiff concerned about the neighbors, understandably, brings her inside.

Defendant says the only way I can get you out of my head is I know that you don't respect me anymore, so I came all the way out here to humiliate myself. Plaintiff responds, well, now I've got to take you back to New York because I have no faith you're going to take the train. So he grabs his keys and he says, let's go, and he starts to leave. Defendant says, can I use the bathroom. Plaintiff figures it was a long trip out from New York, sure. He goes to his car and waits. One minute. Two minutes. Five minutes. Goes back to discover that the defendant was standing in his house naked, with her clothes piled on the floor. He picks up the clothes, he hands then [sic] to her, she drops them on the floor.

He says, look, let's go somewhere, let's get some coffee. It took 15 minutes for the plaintiff to get herself dressed. Once she gets in his car, plaintiff makes haste for Manhattan, no coffee. Once the defendant realizes she's going to New York, she starts yelling, she starts crying. They get outside of her apartment in New York, she refused to get out of his car. She insisted that the only way she would get out is if he would take her upstairs . . . to her apartment. Reluctantly, the plaintiff agreed. He went into her parking garage, they went upstairs. At which point the defendant again tries to take off her clothes. Plaintiff left and reported the incident to the Madison Police.

I note that this event in March occurred -- well, excuse me. After this incident in March, if it wasn't absolutely clear to the defendant, the plaintiff told her, we're done, we've ...


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