Domestic Violence Decisions

Several unpublished cases have been issued by the New Jersey Appellate division.

  • On the topic of weapons forfeiture, our Appellate Court in the summer of 2013 issued the unpublished case of State v. P.M. In it, the court ruled that once a court signs a Temporary Restraining Order against a Defendant, all the Defendant's weapons, including a firearm purchaser identification card, must be forfeited. Even if the TRO is later dismissed by the complaining witness, the State can move to withhold a Defendant's firearms and purchaser ID card when the State can demonstrate that the Defendant would no longer qualify to purchase a new firearm or "is a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare." In this case, a court returned the Defendant's firearms. Shortly thereafter, the State obtained a psychological report showing the Defendant may be unfit to carry firearms. The Appellate Court held that the trial court must re-open the matter to consider the new evidence.

  • In J.D.G. v. R.P.G., the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a Plaintiff in a domestic violence matter could rely on facts, which she previously alleged in a similar proceeding in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania action was dismissed when she failed to appear in Court. Defendant asked that the court bar Plaintiff from raising the same issues in New Jersey. The New Jersey court found that the Pennsylvania court did not make findings of fact. Since the dismissal was procedural in nature, Plaintiff was free to raise the issues again. After a full trial, Plaintiff met her burden of proof under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and a Final Restraining Order issued against the Defendant. The Appellate Division affirmed.

  • In the recent unpublished trial court decision of B.C. v. T.G., FV-15-1033-13 the Court held that a Final Restraining Order could include protections for a pregnant victim's unborn child. In a case of apparent first impression, the Court reasoned that even though a fetus is not a person under New Jersey law, a Restraining Order could still bar an abuser from having any contact with the child once it was born as the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act contains numerous protections for existing children. The Court also found that extending such protections was consistent with the legislative findings expressing the broad intent of the statute to extend protection to victims.