On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FO-20-163-08E.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges A. A. Rodriguez and LeWinn.
Defendant appeals from the May 8, 2008 judgment finding him guilty of contempt of a domestic violence final restraining order (FRO), N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b), and sentencing him to pay fines totaling $125. We affirm.
On August 19, 1998, M.T. obtained an FRO against defendant. Among its prohibitions was that defendant was to have no form of contact or communication with M.T.
On September 25, 2007, based upon a complaint by M.T., the Roselle Park Police Department issued a warrant charging defendant with going to M.T.'s residence on the previous day, "yelling 'hello' th[e]n 'what you don't want to talk to me.'" He was charged with harassment, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(c), and fourth-degree violation of a court order, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b). Defendant was a resident of Maryland at that time. A bench warrant issued; defendant was in custody at the time of trial on May 8, 2008.
On that date defendant appeared with counsel and stated his decision to plead guilty to contempt of an FRO; the State agreed to dismiss the harassment charge and recommend a sentence of $125 in mandatory penalties. The judge questioned defendant as to the knowing and voluntary nature of his plea, and his understanding of the rights he waived by deciding to plead guilty.
The prosecutor then questioned defendant as to the factual basis for his plea and the following colloquy ensued:
Q. [I]sn't it true that on September 24 of 2007, you knew that there was a . . . restraining order saying that you are not to have any contact whatsoever with . . . [M.T.]?
A. I knew there was an order. I didn't know it was still in effect.
A. What I'm saying is that my contempt was ...