In Re Curcio v. Pels: Domestic ViolenceIn Re Curcio v. Pels: Domestic ViolenceWalzer Melcher LLP
In re the Matter of Jennifer Curcio v. Julia Pels (Domestic Violence)
California Court of Appeal, Second District
Published Opinion, (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 1
The Superior Court issued a restraining order in favor of Curcio against ex-girlfriend Pels who allegedly abused Curcio, disturbed her peace, and threatened her livelihood. Curcio sought the restraining order after Pels posted abuse allegations about Curcio on social media. Curcio also claimed Pels had abused her physically three years prior. Pels filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied. Pels appealed contending that: (1) the Court improperly shifted the burden of proof to her; (2) her private Facebook post does not constitute disturbing the peace under the DVPA; (3) the order constitutes a prior restraint on Pels’ speech, and (4) the court abused its discretion when it extended the expiration date of the order from two to three years.
(2) The Court of Appeals concluded that Pels’ single, private Facebook post accusing Curcio of abusing her does not rise to the level of destruction of Curcio’s mental and emotional calm, sufficient to support the issuance of a DVRO. (3) Because the court found that the Facebook post did not constitute abuse, the court did not address Pels’ prior restraint contention.
(1) The Court of Appeals concluded that the lower court improperly shifted the burden of proof to Pels because the lower court did not find that Curcio proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Pels hit her intentionally or recklessly. The law requires that the party seeking the restraining order prove past abuse by a preponderance of the evidence.
(4) The Court of Appeals concluded that the lower court abused its discretion by extending the restraining order another year after a final interaction between the Court and Ms. Pels, finding that the lower court articulated no legal basis for adding another year.
Curcio v. Pels 2-27-20
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