Annoying Behavior & the CA Domestic Violence Protection Acct

During the winter and early spring of 2012, Gisela Burquet and Randy Brumbaugh were boyfriend and girlfriend, but in April, Gisela ended their relationship. Randy, however, would not accept it and kept contacting Gisela. For the next ten months, Gisela asked Randy several times to leave her alone, but Randy wouldn't stop. Despite her requests, Randy continued to bother her and beg her to take him back. Each time she would refuse and he would become angry. On February 18, 2013, Randy, showed up unannounced, at Gisela's house. He knocked on the door; she opened it but did not invite him inside. After a short conversation she told him to leave. "He got angry," she said. "He started saying very--in a loud voice 'I love you, I don't know, I'm sorry.'" According to court transcripts, she was afraid of what he was going to do, and told him, "Please leave, I'm scared. I will call the police. And that's when he shouted at me through my door window, 'I want to see you do that.'" Randy still didn't leave, but instead, paced around her porch for about 10 minutes, then called her from his cell phone and told her he was leaving. He asked her not to be scared, but she stated she was scared because he was angry. Twice during their relationship when he got angry, he had become physical with her. He left before the police arrived. Gisela filed a restraining order against Randy based on California's Domestic Violence Protection Act (DVPA).

The trial court granted Gisela's request stating: "It just doesn't make sense that [Randy] would show up five months later out of nowhere unannounced, uninvited, stick around, not leave when asked to leave and pace around the porch. It just was at least immature if not threatening. I see uninvited contact that made [Gisela] afraid because he would not leave and show up out of nowhere uninvited, and unannounced. And so the restraining order will expire on March 20, 2015. Two years from now you guys should be enough done with each other that it's time to move on with life, which it sounds like that's what you want. I do think the evidence here is enough to make me concerned and assure the peace and tranquility of [Gisela]." Randy appealed because there was no showing of any violence or abuse against Gisela, just annoying behavior.

The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court. The DVPA not only protects individuals from bodily harm, sexual assault, and fear of bodily injury, but it protects individuals from harassment, annoying behavior (such as unwelcome verbal and written communications), and disturbing an individual's peace.

In this situation, Randy continued to contact Gisela for ten months, even though she repeatedly told him to leave her alone. He further annoyed her by showing up at her house. Please note, an individual does not have to be in fear to get relief under the DVPA.

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