Officially released July 14, 2020.
In Short: (1) Make sure the basis of your objection is clear on the record; (2) advise the court of the appropriate definition to be used under a given statute; (3) this case provides an example of a pattern of stalking successfully being used to support § 46b-15 on behalf of a child.
Applicant filed for a restraining order pursuant to § 46b-15 on behalf of herself, her child and her mother. Respondent is the Applicant’s father and the former husband of applicant’s mother. Applicant alleged that Respondent showed up at the child’s bus stop, school, summer camp and activity meetings, trespassed on Applicant’s property and used the “Find My iPhone” application on the child’s iPad to locate the Applicant’s new home. Applicant further alleged that the child is afraid of respondent and gets “extremely upset” when he arrives. Lastly, Applicant alleged that Respondent sent harassing texts to her mother and threatening letters, emails and text messages to Applicant.
The trial court denied the application as applied to Applicant. The trial court stated it was applying the stalking definition from §53a-181d, which defines the crime of stalking in the second degree. The trial court thereafter granted the application as to the child.
Respondent appealed, claiming that the trial court (1) applied the wrong definition of stalking, and (2) allowed testimony of the applicant on behalf of the minor child.
The Appellate Court found that the application of the § 53a-181d definition was harmless error, as there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of stalking as commonly defined.
The Appellate Court found that the evidentiary claim was unpreserved, as the objection was not made clearly enough at time of trial. Although Respondent complained of the testimony, he did not object on the basis of hearsay.
The Judgment was affirmed.