On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FV-07-2029-10. Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Boyd, L.L.C., attorneys for appellant (James C. Jensen, on the brief).
RECORD IMPOUNDED NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Parrillo and Yannotti.
Respondent has not filed a brief.
Defendant M.M. appeals from a final restraining order entered by the Family Part on April 12, 2010, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35 (PDVA). We affirm.
On February 8, 2010, plaintiff C.G. filed a complaint in the trial court alleging that defendant had committed acts of domestic violence, specifically harassment, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4. The court entered a temporary restraining order and scheduled the matter for a hearing on whether a final restraining order should issue. The hearing took place on April 12, 2010.
At the hearing, plaintiff testified that she and defendant had an intimate relationship which ended in the Spring of 2005. Plaintiff said that thereafter defendant had contacted her, indicating that he had "[s]exual desire" for her. She said that sometimes she ignored the communications; and sometimes she responded to these communications in an "inviting manner." The parties met in August 2008 for drinks.
In November 2008, defendant sent plaintiff an e-mail. Plaintiff responded saying that the e-mail was "sick" and defendant should get help. She also said that she had begged defendant "just to stop." In May 2009, defendant sent plaintiff another e-mail, which stated "Hot sex happens here[.]" Attached to the e-mail was a copy of a photograph of plaintiff's grandparents' home, where plaintiff was living at the time. Plaintiff ignored the May 2009 e-mail.
In June 2009, defendant sent plaintiff another e-mail, which stated, "Who could possibly have sex seven days in a row?" The e-mail also stated, "I can only think of one person. It sucks, but you're the only one that I know that can keep up with me on this. I'm craving you real bad." Plaintiff responded by stating "Mmm, interesting. I have a few comments about that, but I'll keep them to myself. But please tell me this; what is it that you're compelled to email me this random stuff? Please stop."
Defendant was incarcerated in the Bergen County Jail beginning in August 2009. In December 2009, defendant sent plaintiff a Christmas card, which mentioned that it had snowed on December 5, and implied that plaintiff "missed" the storm. On the card, defendant had written "it's been forever since we've talked. I miss you." The card also stated, "Have you done any traveling lately. Tell me more about you."
Plaintiff testified that she believed the card was threatening in part because defendant should not have known where she was living but sent the card to her there. Plaintiff said that the statements on the card suggested to her that defendant had someone watching her or providing defendant with information about her. In February 2010, defendant sent plaintiff a birthday card. The front of the card depicted twenty-seven lizards, some of which appeared to be in jail. On the card, defendant had written "We're going to have a party and happy birthday[.]" Defendant also had written that plaintiff had been trying "to find" him. Plaintiff testified that she found the statements threatening because she had not been trying "to find" defendant.
Defendant admitted that he sent plaintiff the November 2008 e-mail. He said that it was a "joke" and he did not send the e-mail to plaintiff to harass or annoy her. He said that he thought the e-mail was "funny." Defendant also admitted that he sent plaintiff a sexual, potentially inviting e-mail and she had asked him to stop. Defendant said that he did not send plaintiff any e-mails thereafter.
Defendant further testified that he sent plaintiff a Christmas card in December 2009. He sent it to plaintiff at her grandparents' residence because she had informed him that she was living there. Defendant stated that he mentioned snow in the card because he knew that plaintiff liked snow. He also testified ...