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Kathrynne S. v. Swetz

Appellate Court of Connecticut

August 20, 2019

KATHRYNNE S.
v.
Stanley SWETZ[*]

         Argued May 20, 2019

         Appeal from Superior Court, Hartford County, Bozzuto, J.

Page 859

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 860

          Stanley Swetz, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).

         Alvord, Bright and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         [191 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.[1] 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.[2] We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The 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

Page 861

defendant.[3] 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.

         At the hearing on the plaintiff’s application, on November 30, 2017, the plaintiff described the defendant’s 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,[4] 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 court’s advisement, the defendant invoked his fifth amendment right with respect to the contents of the recording.[5] The court then stated that it inferred "that there is stuff on that tape he doesn’t want this court to hear." The tape was not admitted into evidence.

         The 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 plaintiff’s 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 plaintiff’s life partner and he "supported everything that [the plaintiff] ...


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