e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 29926
Opinion Date : 12/20/2005
e-Journal Date : 01/03/2006
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Ottevaere v. Tweddle
Practice Area(s) : Family Law, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – Fitzgerald, O’Connell, and Kelly
Full Text Opinion

Whether the trial court correctly found respondent had violated the PPO and committed him to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $500 fine; In re Contempt of Auto Club Ins. Ass’n; People v. Boynton; MCL 750.411h; Whether respondent violated the PPO where petitioner was not at home; Whether the trial court’s order was unconstitutionally vague; Whether the trial court found respondent intentionally violated the PPO


The trial court correctly found the respondent’s appearance at petitioner’s home on the one occasion at issue constituted contempt. The parties were divorced after a six-year marriage and have two children. After the divorce, petitioner alleged respondent physically threatened her, made harassing and intimidating phone calls, repeatedly threatened to not return the children after visitation, and battered her during a visitation exchange. The trial court issued a PPO prohibiting respondent from, inter alia, “stalking as defined by MCL 750.411h and MCL 750.411i which includes but is not limited to…appearing at petitioner’s work place or residence.” Several months later, and after respondent was found in contempt for a prior violation of the PPO, petitioner’s fiancé witnessed respondent drive slowly past petitioner’s house with the car window rolled down. Respondent’s son also recognized his father. Respondent argued the trial court was required to find beyond a reasonable doubt he committed a course of conduct involving two or more instances of harassment before holding him in contempt. However, the trial court originally granted the PPO because it found petitioner established a course of harassing conduct by respondent. Thus, any further violation, including respondent’s arrival at her home, would merely add to the established series and continue the harassment contrary to both the statute and the plain language of the PPO. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion