Appeal from the District Court of Morton County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Wayne D. Goter, Judicial Referee.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
N.D. Supreme CourtRinas v. Engelhardt,
This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents]
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Opinion of the Court by VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
[¶1] Jordan Michael Engelhardt appealed from a domestic violence protection order prohibiting him from having contact with Sara J. Rinas for twenty years. We modify the domestic violence protection order and affirm as modified.
[¶2] Engelhardt and Rinas, who were never married, have a minor child together. On September 2, 2011, after the relationship ended, Rinas filed a petition for protective relief from Engelhardt. Rinas alleged Engelhardt had been physically abusive on multiple occasions, one of which occurred while Engelhardt was holding their child. Rinas also alleged Engelhardt had threatened to kill her and she received threatening text messages from him. The district court granted a temporary domestic violence protection order and scheduled a hearing. In October 2011, Engelhardt filed a parenting time action, but no parenting time order has been issued.
[¶3] A hearing on the protection order was held before a judicial referee on November 7, 2011. Rinas and Engelhardt testified at the hearing. Rinas testified that on one occasion she asked Engelhardt to let her out of the vehicle he was driving, and, as she was getting out and holding their child, Engelhardt started driving while she was partially outside the vehicle. Rinas said Engelhardt then forced her back into the vehicle. Rinas testified about another incident when Engelhardt hit her and strangled her while he was holding their child. Rinas testified that Engelhardt had threatened to kill her and she had received threatening text messages from him. Rinas also testified about an incident involving a person looking into the windows of the home she shared with Engelhardt. Rinas said Engelhardt became very nervous and called the police. The day after this incident, Rinas testified that Engelhardt came home and told her he had a gun in his car to protect them.
[¶4] Engelhardt testified that he never hit or strangled Rinas, and on the night when he allegedly assaulted Rinas while he held their child, Rinas was drunk and threw the child at him. Engelhardt said he sent Rinas the text messages out of frustration because Rinas would not let him see his child. Engelhardt testified he believed Rinas was seeking the protection order to keep his child from him. Regarding the incident with the vehicle, Engelhardt testified he pulled over the vehicle when Rinas asked, and he convinced her to get back in the vehicle because he did not want to leave her on a highway late at night.
[¶5] At the hearing, the judicial referee found domestic violence had occurred and entered a permanent domestic violence protection order effective until December 31, 2031. The protection order granted Rinas temporary custody of the parties' minor child. The order required Engelhardt to complete a domestic violence treatment program and a chemical dependency evaluation prior to exercising visitation with the child. The order provided visitation between Engelhardt and the child must be supervised at the Family Safety Center for the duration of the order. The protection order also required Engelhardt to surrender all firearms or other dangerous weapons to law enforcement. Engelhardt filed a request for reconsideration, asking the judicial referee to reconsider the length of the order, the terms relating to his parenting time, and the firearms provision. The judicial referee denied Engelhardt's request for reconsideration. Engelhardt did not ...