On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, FV-02-000247-11.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges C.L. Miniman and LeWinn.
Defendant appeals from the August 17, 2010 domestic violence final restraining order (FRO) entered against him in favor of plaintiff, his former wife. We affirm.
We summarize the pertinent evidence from the hearing on plaintiff's FRO application on August 17, 2010. The parties were divorced in July 2009. Around the time of the divorce, plaintiff became involved in a relationship with Matthew DiLeo. When defendant learned of this he installed a GPS tracking device on an automobile that he owned and plaintiff used.
Plaintiff obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against defendant immediately following the divorce. She described the circumstances leading to that TRO as follows: when defendant would come to pick up the parties' daughter he would make "comments about who was coming and going from [her] home, things that were in [her] garbage . . . . He knew everything about everything [she] was doing at all times."
In October 2009, the parties entered into a consent order under their matrimonial docket imposing civil restraints; plaintiff then dismissed her TRO. Among the restraints to which defendant consented was the prohibition against his "stalking, following or threatening to harm, stalk or follow . . . [p]laintiff."
DiLeo testified that plaintiff has been his "girlfriend" for about one year. On May 21, 2010, while driving his car DiLeo hit a pothole, heard the sound of something falling off his vehicle and "saw a black box bouncing in the road . . . ."
He opened the box and discovered "a battery pack and some sort of transmitting device . . . ." He asked a friend who is a police officer to look at it because he believed it to be a GPS tracking device. Shortly after this incident, DiLeo found a second GPS device attached to the bottom of his car. His friend advised him to file a complaint with the local police department, which he did.
DiLeo stated that plaintiff had been in his vehicle on at least two occasions, and her daughter on one occasion, during May 2010. Plaintiff had also occasionally driven his car prior to May 2010.
Plaintiff testified that she did not file her TRO until July 18, 2010, after learning of the GPS devices found on DiLeo's car, because she first filed "a couple of . . . police reports . . . in regards to [her] safety" but then felt it was in her "best interest to get another restraining order." She testified that she felt threatened by defendant; she believed he had violated their consent order by "us[ing her] . . . boyfriend to stalk and harass [her]." She remains "concerned for [her] safety when [defendant] knows [her] whereabouts at every given time."
In her TRO plaintiff described a prior history of domestic violence, including defendant putting the GPS device on the car she used, telling plaintiff she is "his property"; screaming at her and blocking her exit; and reporting her every ...