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8 SUPERIORCOURT. STATE OF CALIFORNIA

9 COLiNTY OF SANTA CLARA

l0
CaseNo.: 1-09-FL-149682
11 In re the Marriageof:
ORDERRE PETITIONER'SREQTIEST
TO
12 KAMATHIRAMANEK, RENEW RESTRAINING ORDER
13 Petitioner,

and

15 ADILHIRAMANEK,

t6 Respondent.

17

18 This mattercameregulariybeforetheCourtfor trial on August8,2012,in Department

19 75 of theFamilyCourt,theHon. L. MichaelClark,presiding.Christopher
Hirz, Esq.,appeared
20 for andwith Petitioner,KamalKapadiafka Hirmanek("Mother"). Respondent,
Adil Hiramanek
2l ("Father"),appeared
andrepresented
himself. At issuewasMother'srequestfiled September
16,
22 2011,to renewherrestrainingorderagainstFatherunderFamilyCodesection6345. Father's

23 responsive
declarationfiled October3, 2011,opposedtherequest.Thematterwasoriginallyset

24 for hearingin October2011,but wascontinuednumeroustimesat therequestofthe parties.

25

t
The courthasconsidered
thewrittendeclarations
andtestimonyofthe parties,theevidence

presented
at thehearing,andthecourtfile. The Courtnow rendersdecisionasfollows.

Background

TheunderlyingdomesticviolencerestrainingorderagainstFatherwasfiled on October

18,2010.It issuedfollowinga contested


hearingon September
13andOctober18,2010,during

whichbothpartieswererepresented
by counsel.At theconclusionof thehearingon October18,

2010,the Courtissueda one-yearno-contactandstay-away


orderagainstFather.TheCourt

foundthatFatherviolateda writtenstipulationfiled by thepartieson June24,2009,in which

Fatheragreedto haveno contactwith Motherandagreedto stayawayffom Mother,her

10 residence,
placeof emplolmentandvehicle.

l1 At thetrial on theunderlyingrestrainingorderin 2010,the Courtfoundcredible

Mother'stestimonythat on February4, 2010,Fathersatin his parkedcarin ffont of Mother's

13 residence.TheCourtfoundthatFather'spresence
in front of theresidence
causeMotherto have

l4 a reasonable
fearandconstitutedharassment
anddisturbingMother'speace.At Father'srequest,

15 the court craftedsomenarow exceptions


to therestrainingorder. one exceptionincludeda

t6 provisionwhichpermittedFatherto cometo theMother'sresidence


to pick up his elderly
17 mother,RodaHiramanek,who still residedin thehomeat thetime,aslong asheremainedin his

l8 carcurbside.AnotherexceptionallowedFatherto attendeventsat theZoroastrian


Associatron

of NorthemCaliforniawhenMotherandthechildrenwerepresent,so long ashe did not

approach
themor attemptto cornrnunicate
with them. At the time theCourtissuedthe

21 underlyingrestrainingorder,Father'scontactwith thechildrenwasrestrictedto professional

supewisedvisitation.

Current Trial

Duringthetrial on August9, 2012,on Mother'srequestto renewherrestrainingorder,

25 Mothertestifiedthatshestill fearsFather,andsheis affaidhe will continueto harassherif the

2
resftainingorderis allowedto expire. Shetestifiedthat,for themostpart,the existing

restrainingorderhasprotectedher,exceptfor a few timeswhenFatherviolatedthecurrentorder.

3 she testifiedthatsomeof theviolationshaveoccurredwhenshehassatin thecourtroomor

4 outsidethe courtroom,andFatherhascomeandsatnearherandstaredat her. Shedescribed


an
5 incidentin February2011whenshearrivedto pick up the childrenfrom a therapeutic
supervised
6 visit betweenFatherandthechildrensupervised
by CarolTait-Stames,
MFT, andFather
7 approached
her carwith the children.Shealsodescribedanincidenton October142011,when

8 shewassubpoenaed
to attenda depositionscheduled
by RodaHiramanek(Mother'sex-mother-

9 in-law)in Roda'slawsuitagainstMother.WhenMotherarrivedfor thedeposition,Fathersatin

1 0 the sameroomwith Motheruntil Mother'sattorneythreatened


to call thepolice,at whichtime
ll Fatherleft. Finally,Motherdescribed
anincidenton June15,2011,whenshewasat courr

12 participatingin a mandatorysettlement
conference.Fathercameover andsatin flont of herand

l3 staredat her "with a hatefulstare."

t4 Mothertestifiedthatall theseincidentsmadeher afraid,andthatthelook he gaveherwas

15 the samelook he gaveher duringher experience


ofdomesticviolenceduringmarriage. She
16 testifiedthattheseincidentsmadeherheartrace,andherhandsclammy,andshestartedshaking.

1'7 MotherbelievesthatFatheris on a questto destroyher.

18 Fatherdeniedviolatingtheexistingrestrainingorder. He calledattorneyMarieBechtel

1 9 to testify. Shetestifiedthatsheservedasa volunteerpro tem settlement


judgefor theparliesin

20 2011on mattersrelatedto custodyandvisitation. Shetestifiedthatduringthetime shewaswith

the family, shedid not seeanydeputiesgetinvolvedwith thefamily,nor did anyonetell herthat

22 deputiesgot involvedwith thefamily thatday,nor did anyonepresentherwith anycomplaints

23 thatday. On cross-examination
sheagreedthatit waspossiblethatsomethingoccurredthatshe

did not see.

3
Fatherelicitedtestimonyfrom his non-certifiedprocessselver,JavadMajd, andfrom his

mother,RodaHiramanek.Fatherdid not testifyhimself,per se,asheusedup his trial time

3 allotmentcross-examining
Motherandelicitingtestimonyfrom his witnesses.However,the

4 court allottedFatherextratime to presentclosingargument,


duringwhichhe deniedviolating

5 the existingrestrainingorder.He characterized


the existingrestrainingorderas"bogus,"he

6 characterized
Mother'sassertions
offear as"bogus,"andhe arguedthatMother'srequestto

tenewtherestrainingorderwas'Justa game"to keephim awayfiom thefamily residence.

Finally,Fatherarguedthata restrainingordernegativelyaffectshis reputationandabilityto

obtainemployment.

l0 ApplicableLaw

l1 FamilyCodesection6345,subdivision(a),permitsa protectedparlyto requestrenewal

of a restrainingorder: "Theseordersmay be renewed,upontherequestof a party,eitherfor five

13 yearsor pennanently,
withouta showingofany fuilher abusesincetheissuance
ofthe original
t4 order,subjectto terminationor modificationby furtherorderofthe courteitheron written

15 stipulationfiled with thecourtor on themotionof a party."

16 Whenconsideringa requestto renewa domesticviolencerestrainingorder,theCourt

l1 mustdetermineby a preponderance
ofthe evidencewhetherthe victim hasa reasonable

18 apprehension
of futureabusiveconductif therestrainingorderis allowedto expire.(Ritchiev.

19 Konrad(2004)115Cal.App.4th
1275,1290;
Loffier v. Medina(2009)174Cal.App.4th
1495.)
20 TheRitchiecaseprovidesthemostdetailedguidance.

21
We concludethatin Califomia,asin therestof thecountry,an objectivetestmust
be satisfiedbeforea protectiveorderis renewedin contestedcases. . A trial
22
court should renew the protective order, if, and only il it frnds by a
23 preponderance of the evidencethat the protectedparty entertainsa "reasonable
apprehension" of futureabuse.So thereshouldbe no misunderstanding, this does
24 not meanthe courtmustfind it.is more likely thannot futureabusewill occurif
the protectiveorderis not renewed.It only meansthe evidencedemonstrates it is
25 more probablethan not there is a sufficientrisk of future abuseto find the
protectedparty'sapprehension is genuineandreasonable.

4
Consequently, the trial judge ordinarilyshouldconsiderthe evidenceandfindings
on whichthat initial orderwasbasedin appraisingtherisk of futureabuseshould
the existingorderexpire. On the otherhand,the trial courtshouldnot permitthe
restrained partyto challengethe truth ofthe evidenceandfindingsunderlyingthe
initial order,asKonradseeksto do in this case.This would contradictprinciples
of collateralestoppeland undercutthe policiessupportingthoseprinciples.But
this doesnot meanthe trial court shouldbe prohibitedfrom lookingbehindthe
orderitself when evaluatingwhetherthat order,oftenthreeyearsold, shouldbe
extendedanotherthreeyearsor even,ashere,permanently. ...

A1l of which is to say the mereexistenceof a protectiveorder,typically issued


several years earlier, seldom if ever will provide conclusiveevidencethe
requestingpafiy entertainsa "reasonableapprehension" of future abuseof any
kind shouldthat order expire.But the existenceof the initial order certainlyis
relevantandthe underlyingfindingsand factssupportingthat orderoftenwill be
enoughin themselves to providethenecessaryproofto satisfythattest.
10
Also potentially relevant are any significant changesin the circumstances
t1 surroundingthe eventsjustifying the initial protectiveorder.For instance,have
the restrainedand protectedpartiesmoved on with their lives so far that the
opportunityand likelihoodof futureabusehasdiminishedto the degreethey no
longersupporta renewalof the order?Or havetherebeenno significantchanges
or evenperhapschangesthat enhancethe opportunityand possibilityof future
abuse?
l4

15
Theothersideof the equation-the"burdens"the protectiveorderimposeson the
restrarnedparty-may or may not be a relevant factor in the trial court's
l6 consideration of a contestedrequestfor renewalof a protectiveorder.Cerlainly
thoseburdenswould neverjustify denialof a renewedprotectiveorderwherethe
1'7 "reasonable apprehension" is of futureactsof physicalviolence.It is true those
"burdens"on the restrained partycanbe very real.Thereoftenwill be somesocial
18 stigmaattached while a personis subjectto a protectiveorder.Existingemployers
may frown on an employeewho is subjectto such an order and prospective
l9 employersalmost surely will. Thus the restrainedparty may lose out on a
promotionor ajob. The continuedexistenceof suchan orderlikewisemay,fairly
or unfairly, interferewith the restrainedparty's sociallife. Furthermore,where
childrenareinvolved,a protectiveorderdesignedto prohibitaccessto an abused
spousemay havethe collateraleffectof limiting the restrainedparty'saccessto
his (or her)childrenevenwhentheyarenot potentialtargetsofabuse.

Onceagain,however,the physicalsecurityof the protectedparty trumpsall of


theseburdensthe original or renewedprotectiveorder may impose on the
24 restrainedparty.Thus,wheretheprotectedpartyhasa "reasonable apprehension"
of futurephysicalabuseif the currentprotectiveorderexpires,that ordershould
be renewed despite any burdensthis inflicts on the restrainedparty. The

5
Legislaturehas left little doubtaboutthis balancineof risks and burdensin its
domesticviolencelesislation.

The burdensthe restrainedparty suffers ffom a renewed-and especiallya


permarent-protectiveordermay becomerelevant,however,wherethe existing
orderfocusesnot on the threatof physicalviolence,but lesserformsof abuse-
unwantedtelephonecalls or mail, for example.Wherethe worst "danger"tlre
protectedparty must fear is a few unwantedcalls or lettersor e-mailmessages,
the court may have to weigh the seriousness as well as the degreeof the risk
againstthe significanceof the burdensthe restrainedparty will experienceif
subjectedto a continuingprotectiveorder.(Ritchiev. Konrad (2004) \15 Cal.
App.4th l2'75,1290- 1292.)

Analysis

Applyingthesestandards
to the factsof this case,the Courtfindsby a preponderance
of
l0 the evidencethatMotherhasa genuineandreasonable
apprehension
of futuredomesticviolence.
11 First,the Courtfindsher apprehension
of futuredomesticviolenceis genuine.TheCourtfound

hertestimonycredible.Thefearsheexpressed
duringthehearingwaspalpable.Her description

of thephysicalslrnptomssheexperienced
on the occasions
whenFatherviolatedtheorderwas

consistent
with herdemeanorin thecourtroom.Sheavoidedeyecontactwith Fatherduringthe
15 hearing,andshetrembledasshedescribed
whatshethoughtit wouldbe like withouta
16 restrainingorder. Second,thecourt findsherapprehension
is reasonable.
Her descriptions
of
t7 severalincidentswhenFatherviolatedthe existingrestrainingorderweredetailed,consistent
and
18 ofthe existingrestrainingorderas,,bogus,,,and
credible.And third,Father'scharacterization

19 his multipleviolationsof the existingrestrainingorder,dictatein favorof theneedfor renewalof

the existingrestrainingorder.

21 TheCourthasconsidered
variouschangesin theparties'circumstances
sincethe

underlyingrestrainingorderwasissued.Thepartiesarenow divorced.The Courthas

suspended
visitationbetweenFatherandthechildren.The CourthasorderedFatherto complete

a 52-weekparentingwithoutviolenceprogrambasedon testimonyreceivedin the eight-day

custodytrial in June2012. TheCourthasalsoconsidered


Father'spattemof intimidationand

6
I controlasmorefully describedin theproposedstatement
ofdecisionfiled on August3, 2012.

2 Finally,the court hasconsidered


theimpacton Father'sreputationandability to obtain

3 emplolarentif the court renewstherestrainingorder. Underthefactsof this case,thecourt

4 findsthatthesafetyof Motheroutweighstheburdenplacedon Father.

5 Accordingly,the court grantsMother'srequestto renewherrestrainingorderagainst

6 Father.The court alsograntsherrequestfor a "permanent"restrainingorderunderFamilycode

7 section6345. For law enforcement


purposes,
therestrainingordershaltbe for 50 years,and

8 shallexpireat midnighton August24,2062. The childrenshal1be listedasprotectedpersons.

9 Thereshallbe exceptions
to this restrainingorderfor brief andpeacefulcontactasrequiredfor

10 court-ordered
visitation.Therestrainingordershallexpireasto the chiidrenonly on eachchild's

1l twenty-firstbirthday.At Mother'srequest,theexistingexceptionfor limitedcontactat the

12 zoroastial Associationwill be includedin thepermanent


order. counselfor Mothershall
13 prepareandsubmita RestrainingOrderAfter Hearingon JudicialCouncilFormDV-l30

14 consistent
with this order.

15 SO ORDERED.

lo Date:August24,2012

17

18
'to
lltt,lnU
HON. L, MICHAEL CLARK
Judgeof the SuperiorCourt
21