Judge Dismisses TRO After Three Day Trial in Monmouth County
Earlier this week Keith Oliver Criminal Law secured yet another dismissal of a TRO, this time it came at the end of a three-day trial that began back in January. Our client, who was also a fellow attorney, was served with the temporary restraining order back in the end of December. The Plaintiff and our client had been involved in a romantic relationship for more than two years at that point in time. Although our client resides in Hudson County, since the Plaintiff resides in Red Bank, which is located in Monmouth County, the TRO was filed in the Monmouth County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. In obtaining the TRO, the Plaintiff asserted that she was a victim of repeated acts of domestic violence at the hands of our client. She alleged that our client had stalked and harassed her on various dates throughout the month of December.
Upon speaking to our client and obtaining a copy of the temporary restraining order, it became evident from the outset that our client was in fact the “victim”. The Plaintiff during her testimony testified at great length about the “fear” she was in and the “pain” she suffered as a result of our client’s repeated acts of domestic violence. However, upon cross-examination, Plaintiff’s entire version of events, including the specific acts of domestic violence allegations and when and how she ended the relationship, was called into question. The doubt on the Plaintiff’s version of events was further castered after we presented our case and the client testified. After hearing all the testimony and reviewing all the evidence, which included numerous text messages, emails, and credit card receipts, the Judge concluded that the Plaintiff had failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that either of the alleged acts of domestic violence had occurred and as a result, the restraining order was dismissed outright.
What Must the Plaintiff Prove in a Restraining Order Trial?
In order to obtain a final restraining order in New Jersey, the Plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that not only are they a victim of an act of domestic violence but also that a final restraining order is necessary to protect them from immediate danger or further acts of domestic violence. This standard is spelled out in Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J. Super. 112, 12 5 (App. Div. 2006). So, in the case referenced above, the court did not even need to address the second prong of the analysis as they concluded that Plaintiff had failed to establish the first prong.
This was a tremendous result for our client. A final restraining order in New Jersey is permanent and the consequences of one being imposed can be devastating. Especially in this case, as our client was an attorney himself. If the court had imposed a FRO, it more likely than not would have cost him his career. Something that he had spent the last thirty-plus years building.
Restraining Order Defense Attorneys in Holmdel
If you or a loved one has been served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in New Jersey, we strongly recommend that you speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. Not only are these matters often very complex and involve a lot of emotions but they tend to take place very quickly. FROs in New Jersey are supposed to be heard within ten days of the filling of the TRO. Although a brief adjournment is routinely granted, most of these matters are heard within thirty (30) days. This leaves defense attorneys a very short time to prepare, that is just one of the main reasons that once a TRO is served, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you have been served a restraining order in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law would be glad to help. Our office serves all of Monmouth County, including Howell, Tinton Falls, Freehold, Middletown, Aberdeen, Matawan, Red Bank, Eatontown, Holmdel, and Manalapan. To schedule a free consultation today, please contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959 or you can try contacting us online.
J.T. v. R.D. (2018)