e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 36307
Opinion Date : 06/14/2007
e-Journal Date : 06/26/2007
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Hilgendorf v. Lee
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Fitzgerald, Sawyer, and O’Connell
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Other acts evidence; MRE 404(b); Whether the trial court properly considered evidence of the prior PPOs issued against the respondent; Pickering v. Pickering; Pobursky v. Gee; Stalking (MCL 750.411h(1)(d)); Harassment (MCL 750.411h(1)(c)); Unconsented contact (MCL 750.411h(1)(e)); Course of conduct (MCL 750.411h(1)(a)); Nastal v. Henderson & Assoc. Investigations, Inc.; People v. Ho

Summary

The trial court properly considered evidence of the other PPOs issued against the respondent and entered a PPO against her. Respondent offered an innocent explanation for her continued contact with petitioner, her professor, and denied she was stalking her. Evidence respondent was subject to prior PPOs under very similar circumstances was relevant to show a scheme or plan of engaging in unconsented conduct amounting to harassment against college instructors, thereby rebutting respondent’s innocent explanations for her conduct. Thus, the evidence was properly considered under MRE 404(b). Even if the evidence of the other PPOs was inadmissible, reversal was not required. The trial court indicated the facts of the case alone supported a PPO. There was evidence respondent committed at least two acts of unconsented contact causing emotional distress to petitioner, and those acts would also cause distress to a reasonable person. Respondent initially sent inappropriate e-mails to petitioner. After respondent was told to stop, she sent a magazine containing an article about love with petitioner’s photograph pasted on it, and then twice tried to retrieve it after she was warned not to have further contact with petitioner. Respondent also wrote disturbing comments on the envelope in which the magazine was delivered, and those comments would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally distressed. Because the facts alone supported the PPO, without regard to the evidence of the prior PPOs, any error was harmless. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion