There are some hearings where, no matter how much you are prepared, things just don’t go your way. Maybe it’s that your client has forgotten all of the preparation that was discussed before the hearing. Maybe it’s that the opposing party seems to have an answer for everything. Maybe the opposing party drops evidence on you at the last minute. Maybe your client just rubs the judge the wrong way…or maybe it’s all of that at the same time. Yup, it was one of those days at the 3rd Circuit Court, where my client and I were engaged in a battle regarding a domestic PPO.
In fact, not only were all of those things happening, but the hearing began 45minutes late and lasted over two hours. However, I realized that I could use both of those time-related factors to my advantage. When I realized there was a chance that the hearing would have to be continued another day, I started adding extra questions to my cross and stretching out long pauses in between those questions.
Why, you ask, did I want to extend what seems (and felt like) like torture?
Because I knew that if the matter were continued to another day, the judge would almost certainly forget about how badly my client came off and how well the opposing party did during his testimony. I also hoped that my client would be able to come up with some evidence to back up her story, which at that point she had been unable to do. Thankfully, both these things happened. Not only was my client able to find text messages from the opposing party, but the judge clearly forgot about how my client came across during her testimony.
The text messages my client found showed the opposing party apologizing for “my sexuality towards you…”, which supported my client’s allegations of sexual abuse. The allegations were fairly bizarre, which is probably why the judge had trouble believing them in the first place. Other text messages showed that the opposing party had lied about his interference with my client’s employment. On the new day, several weeks later, I confronted the opposing party with the texts and he had no response, other than the stutter and stammer as I repeatedly asked if why, if he never forced my client to engage in any unwanted behavior, was he apologizing. The judge was equally unimpressed with his interference with my client’s employment.
Thankfully, with the help of the new evidence and the passage of time, the judge agreed that my client was in need of protection from the opposing party.
No matter what side you are on, PPO’s are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Violations of PPO’s can result in fines, jail time, and potentially criminal convictions. If you or a friend of family member are served with a PPO or are in need of a PPO, contact Chris Kessel Law today.