May 20, 2019
from Superior Court, Hartford County, Bozzuto, J.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Stanley Swetz, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).
Bright and Bear, Js.
Conn.App. 852] The self-represented defendant, Stanley Swetz,
appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the
application of the self-represented plaintiff, Kathrynne S.,
for relief from abuse and issuing a domestic violence
restraining order pursuant to General Statutes §
46b-15. On appeal, the defendant claims that
the court improperly (1) determined that there was evidence
of imminent physical harm or threat, (2) considered his
invocation of his right against self-incrimination pursuant
to the fifth amendment of the United States constitution as
evidence (fifth amendment right), and (3) applied an
incorrect standard of proof in granting the
application. We affirm the judgment of the trial
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. On November 17, 2017, the plaintiff filed an
application for relief from abuse against the defendant
pursuant to § 46b-15. At the time of her application, the
plaintiff resided with her life partner and his son, the
defendant. In her application, the plaintiff
averred under oath that the defendant screamed in her left
ear, verbally attacked her so forcefully that she would be
covered in his spit, followed her throughout the house,
opened windows on cold days, used derogatory language
directed at her, threatened to sabotage her car, and barged
into her room to take photographs [191 Conn.App. 853] of her
in her nightwear, and that the defendant had been arrested
for assaulting her in 2015.
hearing on the plaintiffs application, on November 30, 2017,
the plaintiff described the defendants conduct as
"constant intimidation and threatening and stalking
...." The plaintiff also testified that the defendant
struck her on two occasions, once in 2010 and again in 2015.
In support of her claims, the plaintiff offered into
evidence, to which the defendant objected, a flash drive
containing an audio recording of the defendant allegedly
engaging in an eighteen minute "verbal rant"
against the plaintiff. The plaintiff further testified that
she had gone to the Manchester police with the recording. The
court then asked the defendant if he objected to its hearing
of the recording given to the police and advised the
defendant of his fifth amendment right. After the courts
advisement, the defendant invoked his fifth amendment right
with respect to the contents of the recording. The court
then stated that it inferred "that there is stuff on
that tape he doesnt want this court to hear." The tape
was not admitted into evidence.
plaintiff also presented the testimony of Brooke Clemons, a
social worker for Manchester Protective Services for the
Elderly. Clemons testified that the plaintiff had provided a
video from her phone about the emotional abuse she received
and that the plaintiff had told her that the defendant stole
food and repeatedly stood right behind her and yelled in her
ear. Clemons further testified that because of the
plaintiffs disclosure, she opened two protective service
cases: one on the plaintiff and one on her life partner. She
also [191 Conn.App. 854] testified that she met with the
plaintiffs life partner and he "supported everything
that [the plaintiff] ...