Monday, March 25, 2013

Stalking Injunction: Statements About a Petitioner that Cause Reasonable Fear Are a Basis for a Stalking Injunction.

Sloane v. Brown, 2012 UT 300, Utah Court of Appeals, October 25, 2012

Sloane sought and obtained an ex parte stalking injunction against Brown.  Brown requested a hearing. 
At the hearing, the Court heard opening statements and requested that the parties stipulate to the Court considering the opening statements a proffer of the parties testimony.  The parties agreed.  Part of Sloane’s was a proffer of statements made about Sloane on Brown’s blog.  The Blog contained Brown’s summary of events including her desire to kill Sloane’s dog and her attempts to get Sloane evicted.  The Court found that Sloane had sufficiently demonstrated Brown’s course of conduct directed at her that would cause a reasonable person to fear. Brown Appealed.

Brown argued that the Court should not have accepted the proffer as testimony.  The Court of Appeals found that the Court’s action was not plain error; and if there was any error by the trial court, it was invited error because Brown agreed with the court’s consideration of the proffer. 

Brown also argued that her blog posts were protected speech and were not directed at Sloane.  The Court of Appeals found that Brown failed to submit any law that supported her position.  Finally, the law does not require that the threatening statements be made to the petitioner, but also allows for threatening statements made about an individual can also be a basis for the entry of a stalking injunction.  Affirmed.

Full opinion available at

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