KEVIN L. [*]
Date May 12, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Danbury, Ozalis, J.
Seeliger, for the appellant defendant.
Beverley Rogers, for the appellee plaintiff.
DiPentima, C. J., and Mullins and Jongbloed, Js.
DiPENTIMA, C. J.
defendant, Kevin L., appeals from the judgment of the trial
court granting the application for a civil protection order
pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-16a filed by the
plaintiff, Fiona C. On appeal, the defendant raises
interrelated claims that (1) the court improperly interpreted
General Statutes § 53a-181d, the stalking in the second
degree statute, and (2) under the proper interpretation of
that statute, the plaintiff failed to present sufficient
evidence to warrant the granting of her application for a
civil protection order. We agree with the defendant and,
accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.
following facts, as found by the trial court, and procedural
history are relevant to our discussion. On August 31, 2015,
the plaintiff filed an application for an order of civil
protection, alleging that she had been the victim of
stalking. She requested that the court order that the
defendant (1) not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow,
interfere with or stalk the plaintiff, (2) stay away from her
home, (3) not contact her in any manner, (4) stay 100 yards
away from her and (5) be educated at a different educational
facility from the one she attended, or be home schooled. The
court granted the application and issued an ex parte civil
court held a hearing on September 10, 2015. At the outset,
the court noted that both the plaintiff and the defendant
were under the age of eighteen. The plaintiff testified that
she and the defendant attended the same school starting in
the first grade. They were in the same class in the third
grade, and according to the plaintiff's testimony, an
incident occurred at that time. Specifically, the plaintiff
testified that the defendant had threatened her by stating
that he wanted to slit her throat. As a result, she felt
scared and after telling her teacher about this event, the
principal removed the defendant from the plaintiff's
class. The plaintiff further testified that although the
defendant eventually returned to her third grade class, there
were no further threats made against her either that year or
during the fourth and fifth grades when the parties were at
the same school but in different classrooms. According to the
plaintiff, during her sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade
years, the defendant was enrolled in a different school.
There was no interaction between the two during that time.
tenth grade, the plaintiff transferred to an alternative high
school with a single classroom, a kitchen and an office. Less
than ten students attend this school. In the spring of 2015,
the plaintiff learned that the defendant would be transferred
to her school when the new school year started in August,
2015. After hearing this, the plaintiff, who still feared the
defendant, became concerned. She informed the coordinator of
the alternative school of her past history with the defendant
and her present concerns for her safety.
third day of school, both the plaintiff and the defendant
were present. The plaintiff informed the administration that
she could not attend school if the defendant was present. The
plaintiff then went home. The direct examination concluded
with the plaintiff's testimony that the defendant hada
reputation for threatening other students and
‘‘was not a good person.''
cross-examination, the plaintiff acknowledged that the last
time she had been threatened by the defendant was in the
third grade. Upon questioning from the court, the plaintiff
indicated that the defendant's threatening to
‘‘kill'' other students and his bullying
of other students occurred throughout elementary school. The
plaintiff heard of threats made by the defendant against
others while in high school. The plaintiff's father then
testified, after which the plaintiff's counsel rested.
a colloquy with the court, the plaintiff's counsel
conceded that there had been no recent interactions between
the plaintiff and the defendant. After a recess, the court
concluded that it needed further evidence in order to reach a
decision on the plaintiff's application.The court
continued the order of protection until the next court date.
October 7, 2015, the hearing resumed. The court heard
testimony from various school administrators. During a
recess, the court reviewed, in camera, certain school records
of the defendant. After the hearing resumed, the court noted
the following on the record: ‘‘The [school]
records reflect threatening statements by [the defendant] in
the second grade, third grade, [and] fourth ...