J.B. and Jodie Jacobs, Petitioners
R.B., Respondent and Appellant
from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Daniel Saleh El-Dweek,
Jacobs, petitioner; no appearance.
J. Curran, Watford City, N.D., for respondent and appellant.
1] R.B. appeals from a district court order granting J.B. a
two-year disorderly conduct restraining order against him.
Because we conclude the district court abused its discretion
in granting the disorderly conduct restraining order against
R.B., we reverse.
2] R.B. and J.B. began dating in April 2017 when they both
lived in Vermont. Each was sixteen years old at the time.
J.B. and her mother, Jodie Jacobs ("Jacobs"), moved
to North Dakota. Jacobs stated that she noticed a change in
J.B.'s behavior after the move, including J.B. being more
distant from Jacobs and spending more time on her cell phone.
Jacobs attributed this change to J.B.'s relationship with
3] Jacobs, on behalf of J.B., petitioned the district court
for a disorderly conduct restraining order against R.B. The
petition alleged the following events: R.B. threatening
suicide, which caused J.B. to visit a counselor for three
hours; R.B. stating that "J.B. is mine" to Jacobs;
R.B. telling J.B. to stop posting pictures of herself smiling
because he didn't want to see her happy without him; R.B.
telling J.B. to not be friends with girls that smoke
cigarettes because doing so would prevent her from becoming
"the doctor she wanted to be"; R.B. telling J.B. to
wear his ring and sweatshirt, to not speak to any guys
"ever, " and to disrespect Jacobs; R.B. indicating
to J.B. that if she did not do what she said she was going to
do, "he would possibly hurt himself"; J.B. crying
and telling Jacobs that she does not want to see R.B. die;
R.B. telling Jacobs that "he will not stop" and
that she cannot control J.B. when she is eighteen; and R.B.
sending a message to J.B.'s Snapchat account that said
"bad mother alert."
4] The district court issued a temporary restraining order.
Following a hearing, the district court issued a two-year
restraining order against R.B. R.B. appeals.
5] R.B. argues the district court abused its discretion in
granting the restraining order against him.
Under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01, the district court has
discretion to grant a disorderly conduct restraining order
and to conduct a hearing on a petition for an order. This
Court will not reverse a district court's decision to
grant a restraining order or to conduct a hearing absent an
abuse of discretion. The district court abuses its discretion
when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable
manner, when it misinterprets or misapplies the law, or when
its decision is not the product of a rational mental process
leading to a reasoned determination.
Hanisch v. Kroshus, 2013 ND 37, ¶ 9, 827 N.W.2d
528 (quotations and citations omitted). Disorderly conduct
means "intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures
that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security,
or privacy of another person." N.D.C.C. §
12.1-31.2-01(1). The district court may grant a restraining
order if it finds there are "reasonable grounds to
believe that the respondent has engaged in disorderly
conduct." N.D.C.C. § 12.1-31.2-01(5)(d). Reasonable
grounds is synonymous with probable cause. Tibor v.
Lund, 1999 ND 176, ¶ 7, 599 N.W.2d 301.
6] A petition for relief must allege facts sufficient to show
that an individual engaged in disorderly conduct. N.D.C.C.
§ 12.1-31.2-01(3); see also Mitzel v. Larson,
2017 ND 48, ¶ 12, 890 N.W.2d 817 (failing to allege
specific facts or threats requires denying the petition, as a
matter of law). To protect the respondent's right to due
process, the contents of the sworn petition and any
accompanying affidavit limit the issues the petitioner may
testify to at the hearing. Holbach v. Dixon, 2007 ND
60, ¶ 7, 730 N.W.2d 613; Cusey v. Nagel, 2005
ND 84, ¶ 14, 695 N.W.2d 697. The most a petitioner may
establish at the hearing is thus the full scope of
allegations in the ...