e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 42752
Opinion Date : 05/19/2009
e-Journal Date : 05/22/2009
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Plantz v. Ralston
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Fitzgerald, Talbot, and Shapiro
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

 Whether the respondent violated the PPO prohibiting him from "sending mail or other communications to petitioner" where he did not send them directly to her; The trial court's finding of criminal contempt; MCL 600.2950a(20); In re Contempt of Auto. Club Ins. Ass'n; In re Contempt of Henry

Summary

Since the respondent's actions violated the prohibition against sending communications to the petitioner, he violated the PPO by sending communications to her through her brother and a neighbor and the trial court properly held him in criminal contempt. The petitioner sought and obtained a PPO prohibiting the respondent from contacting or harming her, including "sending mail or other communications to petitioner." The trial court denied respondent's motion to terminate the PPO. Several months later, petitioner filed a motion and order to show cause alleging he violated the PPO by mailing letters containing threats against her to her brother and neighbor. She testified at the hearing shortly after the PPO was issued, respondent began sending threatening letters to her brother and neighbor intending she receive them. The trial court held respondent violated the PPO, ruling he "cannot do through others what he cannot do himself." It also found the "tone, language, and anger" in the letters was "threatening and intimidating" and respondent intended them to be communicated to petitioner "as he sent those to her brother and her neighbor." Ultimately, the trial court found "the Petitioner has met her burden by clear and - beyond a reasonable doubt," respondent was in criminal contempt. He filed a motion for resentencing, which the trial court denied. On appeal, he contended he did not violate the PPO because he did not send the letters directly to the petitioner. The court held the trial court's finding the respondent willfully disregarded the PPO was supported by competent evidence. He violated the PPO by disregarding the prohibition he was not to send mail or other communications to petitioner. Although respondent denied he intended the petitioner was to see the letters, the trial court reasonably concluded because the recipients were her brother and neighbor and one letter directed it be forwarded to her as the "owner of the PPO," he intended for her to see them. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion