Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Domestic Violence

One form of domestic violence is stalking, which is statutorily defined as “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly" following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person.” Pickett v. Copeland, 236 So.3d 1142 (Fla. 1st DCA, 2018). In this case, the accused stalker appealed a court’s entry of an injunction against him on the basis that the accuser did not meet her burden of proving that she was stalked.

The parties proceeded without a lawyer on the trial level, and the record reflects that the trial court had to sort through muddled testimony from both parties. Ultimately, the appellate court surmised that the although the petitioner alleged several instances of the respondent following her, the evidence showed there was one incident of the respondent following her (this was because the respondent had his own restraining order against the petitioner and he was talking to the police while following her), and that he only passed by her house one time rather than the multiple times alleged.

The appellate court ruled the petitioner did not meet her burden of proving the elements of the stalking statute in that the alleged or proven incidents fell “short of a malicious ‘course of conduct’ serving "no legitimate purpose.” Id at 1146. Thus, the stalking injunction against the accused was reversed.

If you are seeking or defending against an injunction for protection against domestic violence, you should contact a Miami domestic violence lawyer to learn your rights. A consultation may help you understand your rights and remedies.