Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Domestic
Relations Division Case No. DV-19-375232
Zukerman, Lear & Murray Co., L.P.A, and S. Michael Lear,
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.
1} Appellant-respondent D.H. appeals from a
domestic-violence civil protection order that expired on
August 11, 2019. We find that the appeal is not moot because
the collateral-consequences exception to the mootness
doctrine applies in this particular case. Upon review of the
matter, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
2} Initially, we find that the appeal is not moot.
The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that "absent a
showing of legal collateral consequences resulting from an
expired domestic-violence civil protection order, an appeal
of that order is moot." Cyran v. Cyran, 152
Ohio St.3d 484, 2018-Ohio-24, 97 N.E.3d 487, ¶ 1.
Appellant, who is an inactive attorney, filed with the trial
court a notice of continuing legal collateral consequences
with an affidavit in support stating that she will suffer
legal collateral consequences with regard to her ability to
serve as a guardian ad litem or court-appointed special
advocate ("CASA"). Appellant has demonstrated legal
collateral consequences and that the exception to the
mootness doctrine applies to her appeal.
3} On January 25, 2019, appellee-petitioner J.M.
filed a petition for a domestic-violence civil protection
order ("DVCPO") against appellant-respondent D.H.
Appellee alleged in the petition that he and appellant had
been in a romantic relationship and that during the
relationship appellant cohabitated with him at his residence
on alternating weeks. Appellee indicated that he became
concerned about appellant's possessiveness and that he
terminated the relationship with appellant. The record
reflects that around that time, appellant entered
appellee's residence when he was not home and accessed
his iCloud account on his personal computer without his
permission. Appellee further maintained that appellant
continued to contact him, his friends, and his family on a
regular basis despite his repeatedly instructing her to stop
contacting him. Appellee set forth specific factual
allegations in his petition and claimed that appellant
knowingly and continuously engaged in an obsessive pattern of
conduct that caused him to suffer significant mental distress
in violation of R.C. 2911.211, menacing by stalking.
4} The trial court issued an ex parte
domestic-violence civil protection order and set the matter
for a full hearing, which was held on February 6 and 12,
2019, before a court magistrate. On February 15, 2019, the
magistrate issued a DVCPO, effective until August 11, 2019.
The magistrate made the following findings of fact in the
Petitioner was sworn and gave testimony that supports finding
that Respondent committed domestic violence as defined in
R.C. §3113.31 and that the Petitioner is in danger of
domestic violence. Petitioner's testimony is found to be
credible. Petitioner testified with basic credibility. In
2017[, ] he and Respondent shared a household and were in a
dating relationship. Respondent would live in the shared
house every other week and used the mailing address as her
own. Petitioner told Respondent on several occasions
throughout 2018 to cease contact. On at least three
occasions, Respondent willfully contacted the Petitioner.
Petitioner testified that such contact [caused] him extreme
mental distress that caused him to lose 30 pounds and seek
medical treatment. Petitioner and respondent are currently
involved in a criminal matter of Telecommunication
Harassment. Respondent testified with basic credibility.
Respondent believes there is an unknown third party involved.
Respondent testified that the unknown person is
"spoofing" both parties and trying to set her up.
Respondent does admit to initiating contact after she was
told to cease contact. No other witnesses gave testimony that
offered anything of value.
DVCPO was adopted by the trial court and also was corrected,
nunc pro tunc.
5} Appellant filed objections to the DVCPO and then
filed a notice of appeal. This court remanded the case for
the trial court to rule on the objections. On August 1, 2019,
the trial court overruled appellant's objections along
with the supplemental objections that were raised in her
6} In its decision, the trial court found that
appellant's preliminary objection and some of her
supplemental objections challenged whether appellee had a
reasonable fear of imminent harm. The trial court aptly noted
that "those objections are 'strawmen'"
because the DVCPO was not issued on that basis, but rather,
"is premised on Respondent's violation of R.C.
2903.211 - menacing by stalking." The trial court found
competent, credible evidence in the record to support each of
the elements of menacing by stalking and concluded that
"a preponderance ...