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J.G. v. A.G.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 19, 2013

J.G., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
A.G., Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 30, 2013.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FV-14-0500-13.

Howard B. Felcher argued the cause for appellant (Law Offices of Howard B. Felcher, PLLC, attorneys; Mr. Felcher and Alexander M. Warshow, on the briefs).

Matheu D. Nunn argued the cause for respondent (Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, attorneys; Mr. Nunn and Mark Wechsler, on the brief).

Before Judges Alvarez and Waugh.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff J.G. appeals from the Family Part's denial of the final restraining order (FRO) that she sought against defendant A.G. The judge's decision was rendered from the bench after a trial conducted pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35 (the Act), on December 19, 2012. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

At the time of trial, the parties were in the process of divorcing while continuing to reside together in the marital residence. Plaintiff had sought and was denied a temporary restraining order against defendant as a result of at least two prior alleged incidents.

This particular confrontation occurred late in the night on November 16, 2012, when, after a heated exchange in the kitchen of the marital residence, plaintiff went into her bedroom and shut the door. She heard a thump, and when she opened the door, found a steak knife on the floor. Defendant explained to her that he had accidentally dropped the knife while heading towards the stairs near her bedroom. He then left the marital residence and plaintiff called the police. She obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) on November 17, 2012.

After hearing extensive testimony from both parties, who were represented, the Family Part judge concluded that although it was probable that defendant threw the knife against the door, he also believed that "what happened was an acting out on the strained feelings . . . amplified by alcohol . . . ." As a result, pursuant to J.D. v. M.D.F., 207 N.J. 458 (2011), he found that defendant lacked the intent to harass. Although the behavior was "perhaps better left undone, " the judge said it did not rise to the level of the predicate conduct required by either section of the harassment statute. Hence he denied plaintiff's application for an FRO.

Plaintiff now appeals, raising several points of error:

I. PUBLIC POLICY DEMANDS THAT APPELLANT BE PROTECTED FROM FURTHER ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BY RESPONDENT
II. THE LOWER COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENT'S THROWING OF A DEADLY WEAPON AT APPELLANT DID NOT ...

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