Court Rules Third-Party Communication is Domestic Violence in New Jersey Blog
The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruled recently that an email forwarded to Plaintiff’s employer by Defendant does constitute harassment under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The Court determined that the email “falls squarely within the [Act]”. In New Jersey, harassment is Domestic Violence if the aggressor purposely intended to harass another by using a course of alarming conduct or repeated acts intended to alarm or seriously annoy another causing immediate danger to a person or their property.
The trial judge found defendant violated N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(a), which provides a person is guilty of harassment if, with purpose to harass another he makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm . . . .
The New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Hoffman, 149 N.J. 564 (1997), stated the following elements are required to establish such a violation:
(1) defendant made or caused to be made a communication;
(2) defendant’s purpose in making or causing the communication to be made was to harass another person; and
(3) the communication was in one of the specified manners or any other manner similarly likely to cause annoyance or alarm to its intended recipient.
Criminal harassment is a common occurrence in Domestic Violence situations.