Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

L.M.D. v. D.W.D.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

February 27, 2018

L.M.D., Respondent,
v.
D.W.D., Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Vernon County, Missouri, The Honorable Dean G. Dankelson, Judge.

          Before: Gary D. Witt, Presiding Judge, Lisa White Hardwick, Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge.

          GARY D. WITT, JUDGE.

         D.W.D. appeals the entry of a full order of protection under the Missouri Adult Abuse Act (455.005 et. seq.[1]) entered against him in favor of L.M.D. For the reasons explained below, we reverse.[2]

         Factual Background[3]

         In 1996, D.W.D. entered an Alford plea to a felony charge of statutory rape involving L.M.D.'s daughter. Since that time until around June 6, 2017, the parties had no contact. On or around June 6, 2017, L.M.D. became lost and turned around in D.W.D.'s driveway, at which time D.W.D. flipped her off. On June 8, 2017, L.M.D. was at a local restaurant with a friend. D.W.D. entered the restaurant with his minor son and approached L.M.D. D.W.D. told her to never pull into his driveway again and L.M.D. told him never to flip her off again. D.W.D. responded not to worry because next time he would blow her head off.

         On June 9, 2017, L.M.D. filed a petition for an ex parte order of protection in Vernon County Circuit Court under section 455.020, which was granted. A hearing regarding a Full Order of Protection was held on June 16, 2017. On June 19, 2017, the trial court granted L.M.D. a full order of protection against D.W.D. This appeal followed.

         Standard of Review

"The appellate court will sustain the trial court's order unless it is not supported by substantial evidence, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the laws." Wallace v. Van Pelt, 969 S.W.2d 380, 382 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998). This court gives deference to the circuit court's findings of credibility, and only considers those facts and reasonable inferences therefrom supporting the decision. Id. at 383. "Because the trial judge is in the best position to gauge the credibility of the witnesses, in cases under the Adult Abuse Act, the discretion of the trial court should not often be superseded." Id.

C.L. v. Hartl, 495 S.W.3d 241, 243 (Mo. App. W.D. 2016).

         Analysis

         D.W.D. raises one point on appeal. In his sole point on appeal, D.W.D. argues that the trial court erred in issuing a full order of protection in favor of L.M.D. because L.M.D. failed to prove that she was stalked as defined under section 455.010(14). D.W.D. argues that L.M.D. provided no evidence that D.W.D. engaged in an unwanted course of conduct because D.W.D. only initiated one unwanted contact with L.M.D., which is insufficient to establish a course of conduct as defined under section 455.010(14)(b).

         "Any adult who has been subject to domestic violence by a present or former adult family or household member, or who has been the victim of stalking, may seek relief under section 455.010 to 455.085 by filing a verified petition alleging such domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault by the respondent." Section 455.020. "As such, a full adult protection order may be entered only upon proof that the petitioner was: (1) subjected to abuse by a present or former adult family or household member or (2) subjected to stalking." H.K.R. v. Stemmons, 295 S.W.3d 220, 223 (Mo. App. W.D. 2009).

Because there is real harm that can result in abusing the Adult Abuse Act and its provisions, including the stigma that may attach to a respondent who is ultimately labeled a 'stalker, ' trial courts must exercise great care to ensure that sufficient evidence exists to support all ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.