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Dodds v. Stamper

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign

January 19, 2018

HELEN DODDS on behalf of S.S. and D.S. Plaintiff-Appellee
BOBBY STAMPER Defendant-Appellant

         Civil Appeal from Domestic Relations Court T.C. NO. 2017-DR-59

          HELEN DODDS Plaintiff-Appellee, pro se

          REBECCA BARTHELEMY-SMITH, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          DONOVAN, J.

         {¶ 1} This matter is before the Court on the June 22, 2017 Notice of Appeal of Defendant-Appellant Father. Father appeals from the trial court's May 30, 2017 Journal Entry and Order of Protection, issued against Father after a May 23, 2017 hearing on the "Petition for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (R.C. 3113.31), " filed by Plaintiff-Appellee Grandmother, on behalf of S.S. and D.S., Father's children.

         {¶ 2} Grandmother filed her pro se petition on March 21, 2017, and an ex parte order was issued on the same day. The petition provides in part:

3. Respondent has engaged in the following act(s) of domestic violence: (Describe the acts as fully as possible. * * *.)
*** [M]y Father, would abuse my Mother, Sister and myself. He would hit (with fist), slap, choke, kicked [sic]. He would verbally, mentally, and physically abuse us. Saturday night I was working cashier I heard the door ring so I looked over and I saw my dad [Father] and [T.H.] walk in. When they did so my dad looked at me the way he did when he just got finished beating my mom and I know I couldn't help her. I started breathing really hard it felt like I was going to pass out. I went to the back and told my manager Lindsey that I couldn't take his order because I thought I still had a protection order against him. So I had another co-worker go up to take his order and once he relized [sic] I wasn't coming back up to the front he left. I stayed in the back for a couple minutes after he left because I was still scared. Once I calmed I called the police.

         {¶ 3} A full hearing on the petition was scheduled for April 3, 2017. On April 4, 2017, the court issued a "Journal Entry" that provides that the parties were present on April 3, 2017, and that the hearing was continued to allow Father to obtain counsel.

         {¶ 4} At the full hearing on the petition, by way of background, Grandmother made the following opening statement:

Yeah, the girls - - I had not came into court before to get a - - get a protection order. In the beginning, I didn't realize the other one was not covering them.
And then when I did, [D.S.] wanted to come in but we haven't had a problem until he showed up at Lee's and [S.S.] had to call me. Then both girls proceeded to demand a protection order so then we filed one.

         {¶ 5} Grandmother indicated that she has custody of S.S. and D.S. Grandmother called A.C., the mother of S.S. and D.S. ("Mother"), to testify. According to Mother, she was unhappy with Grandmother because Grandmother let S.S. obtain employment at Lee's Famous Recipe in Springfield, where Father resides. Mother stated she was aware that Father knew where S.S. was working, and that she spoke to Father "on the phone because I was allowed to speak with him when the children were involved and he told me that [S.S.] worked at KFC and I just agreed with it. And he called me a lying b**** and he said I know she works at Lee's."

         {¶ 6} The following exchange occurred:

Q. And did you file a petition for protection in Kentucky?
A. Yes, I did because he was there the first week of December.
Q. And on that petition, did it say that he was to stay away from [S.S.] at Lee's?
A. Yes, and gave the address of my job and hers and I have proof.

         {¶ 7} Mother produced "exhibit 1 through 4 and it's a copy of the protective order summons that I requested in Morehead, Kentucky out of Rowan County." Exhibit 1 is a December 29, 2016 "Protective Order Summons" issued to Father; Exhibit 2 is a December 29, 2016 "Petition/ Motion for Order of Protection"; Exhibit 3 is a an untitled page identifying Mother as "Petitioner"; and Exhibit 4 is a "Motion for Relief" reflecting S.S.'s address at Lee's Famous Recipe and Mother's residential and work addresses. According to Mother, "on exhibit 4, it does have my work address and [S.S.'s] work address - - well the name of where she works and address." The following exchange occurred:

Q. You did not get another protection order for another five years that you were supposed to, right?
A. Correct.
Q. Why not?
A. Because [S.S. and D.S.] did not want to go in and face court with him again. At that time, you had custody because I lost them because of the drugs and the drinking that I did that he had provided the whole time we were together. And I admitted it in this court and it's on record.
Q. And is that one of the reasons the girls don't want to be without the protection order?
A. Yes.

         {¶ 8} Mother stated that Father was released from prison at the end of 2015 and was arrested at her home in January of 2016. Mother stated that she and Father were divorced at the time, and that Father "was there, on a restraining order and I let him in. I mean he went to prison. He stalked us repeatedly." The following exchange occurred:

Q. * * * After he got picked up at your house after he was out of prison - -
** *
Q. - - when he got back out of jail for that, did he come back to the house again?
A. Two days later.
Q. Was he giving you - - providing you and the girls with alcohol and drugs and et cetera?
MS. BARTHELEMY-SMITH: Your Honor, I would object to the relevancy. I - - there's - - we're - - the petition states that there was a - - a recent incident where my client went to the Lee's Famous Recipe.
* * * they're talking about several years prior to this petition, Your Honor. I don't think it's relevant.
THE COURT: I wouldn't - -
THE COURT: - - say it's several years prior and I do think it is relevant. Goes to foundation to determine whether there is - - a concern for imminent danger so you may proceed.
A. It was January of '15 when he was arrested and two days after he was arrested, he came back to the house and I told the girls that if their probation officer Holly Davis had asked, do not lie because I knew at that point I couldn't protect them and then I lost them in June.
Q. Did he start to try to threaten you and the girls and was abusing you again?
A. Yes, he actually called my father twice. He's called - - notified my friends several times to get ahold of me, who I gave his name to also his probation officer.
MS. BATHELMELY-SMITH: Your Honor, I would object. It's hearsay again as to - - she's saying that he talked to her father. It's all hearsay.
THE COURT: That objection is overruled. You can continue.
THE WITNESS: Actually I came up for court in August or September of 2016 for the girls to this court and he actually went through Christy [H.'s] (phonetic) front door and tried to attack me and the guy that I was dating at the time.
The police were called and notified but nothing was followed up on it. And his name was Edgar [H.]. Madison wrote out a statement. Christy wrote out a statement and I talked to the state - - officers. It was Officer Molton (phonetic) and Officer Hughes (phonetic).

         {¶ 9} On cross examination, the following exchange occurred:

Q. When's the last time that you've seen [Father]?
A. The last time actually was in March - - or April. I apologize. April 3rd.
Q. Of this year?
A. Yes.
Q. And then prior to that, when's the last time that you've seen him?
A. When we were in court in January in Kentucky.
Q. * * *And that was in - - what year was that? A. This year.
* * *
Q. And those - -that protection order was dismissed, is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. The court dismissed it?
A. Yes.
Q. And there was a hearing, is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. * * * and then it was dismissed?
A. Yes.
Q. Prior to that, when was the last time that you'd seen [Father]?
A. I want to say - - June. Actually, the day that I left to move to Kentucky, he was there.
Q. June of what - -
A. 2016. I had already lost my kids.
Q. * * * And how long had the children been residing with [Grandmother]?
A. Well, they actually went to go live with her June 11th of 2016. [S.S.] remains with her. The ...

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