Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed a domestic violence restraining order filed by a mother against her son. The court concluded that the son's thefts of his mother's property did not prove an intent to "seriously annoy" the mother:
The record does not provide evidence that defendant acted with any purpose in stealing from his mother other than to appropriate her property for his own use.
Under the facts here, the only communication that could arguably support a finding of harassment...occurred when the defendant called his mother a "senile old bitch." As the court found, this was understandably upsetting to the plaintiff. However, we do not measure the effect of the speech upon the victim; we look to the purpose of the actor in making the communication.
The son, aged 56, lived with his mother. (Mike Frisch)