Personal Protection Order (PPO)(MCL 600.2950(4)); "Stalking"; MCL 750.411i; Burden of proof for issuance and continuance of a PPO; Hayford v. Hayford; Relevance; MRE 401 & 402; The trial court's discretion to exclude witnesses; Duray Dev., LLC v. Perrin; Trial strategy; People v. Lown; The trial court's power to control the proceedings; Hartland Twp. v. Kucykowicz; Prosecutorial misconduct; Obstruction of justice; People v. Meissner; Failure to raise an argument on appeal; Michigan Farm Bureau v. Department of Envtl. Quality; Sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court's finding of criminal contempt; MCR 3.708; Due process in a contempt proceeding; DeGeorge v. Warheit; Whether the burden of proof in a criminal proceeding can be shifted by reference to a defendant's silence; People v. Abraham; Ineffective assistance of counsel; People v. Trakhtenberg; Futile objections; People v. Sabin; "Hearsay"; MRE 801(c); People v. Mesik; Double jeopardy; U.S. Const., amend. V; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 15; People v. Rodriguez
The court held that the trial court properly granted the petitioner-ex-wife's motion to terminate a PPO the respondent-ex-husband held against her, and properly found respondent in criminal contempt for violating a PPO held by petitioner against him. On appeal, he argued that the trial court erred in terminating the ex parte PPO he held against petitioner, and in failing to consider his supporting documentation, finding that his assertions that petitioner told her boyfriend where he lived and knew about an incident at a club were insufficient to show that she harassed or threatened him. "Without connecting [her] to the unauthorized conduct, [he] could not satisfy his burden of proof." The court next rejected his argument that the trial court erred when it excluded testimony of witnesses to the incidents allegedly warranting maintenance of the PPO issued against petitioner, finding that he "was afforded the opportunity to present witnesses during the hearing, the trial court did not err in denying his untimely request to present them after its ruling on the motion." It also rejected his argument that the delay of the hearing to determine the status of the PPO he held against petitioner was a deprivation of his right to due process and resulted in prejudice, finding that the delay did not deprive him of the opportunity to be heard by an impartial decisionmaker. "Because the cases had the same parties and related issues, it was not unreasonable for the trial court to hold the hearings together," and there was no prejudice. The court further rejected his argument that the prosecution committed misconduct, finding there was no misconduct as to the prosecutor's request to adjourn to a later date. It next rejected his argument that there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding of criminal contempt, holding that the evidence supported the trial court's ruling that the text message was sent by respondent to petitioner, and it was unauthorized contact prohibited by the PPO. The court also rejected his argument that the trial court erred in using his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent against him. "It is clear from the statement at issue that the trial court did not rely on [his] refusal to testify in ruling," and his trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object. Finally, it rejected his argument that the trial court violated double-jeopardy protections when it found him in criminal contempt, noting that a PPO is an injunctive order. Affirmed.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012