Parties divorce. They had four children. The wife seeks an order of protection against the husband. The husband was charged with a violation of a previous order of protection. He had notice of the prior order. He, therefore, intentionally committed an act prohibited by the order. He had sent a written note to the home of his wife with the intent to harass her.
The wife testified at trial she and one of their daughters received an envelope from her husband. The daughter had her seventh birthday. It was a birthday card for my daughter. The wife gave the envelope to her daughter.
The daughter opened it and gave the card inside to her mother. A post-it note was attached with writing in husband’s handwriting. The note said ‘Bye the bye, the State dropped all charges on your bull you and your fiancé tried to pull. Husband.’
The wife knew that husband had pled guilty to the original charges. She knew the charges were not dropped; the defendant’s husband spent a weekend in jail and had been fined after pleading guilty. Therefore, when she got the defendant’s husband’s note she believed he was harassing and “persecuting” her again.
When the wife first saw the post-it note she said, “It made me sick to my stomach to see that he had to use that, that he had to do that.” She stated the distress lasted for a period of time and she started to cry on the witness stand.
The husband was found guilty of violating the original Order of Protection. He appealed.
To prove harassment, the State must prove conduct on the part of defendant’s husband that is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances. It must cause a reasonable person emotional distress. It must cause emotional distress to the petitioner. These must be intentional acts that cause someone to be worried, anxious, or uncomfortable. It does not have to involve any overt act of violence.
Husband’s purpose in writing the note was not to inform her charges had been dropped. That would not have been necessary. She already knew the outcome of that case.
The jury could have legitimately concluded the note was an attempt to retaliate against her for filing the former charge. And to intimidate her into not filing any charges in the future.
This might cause a reasonable person emotional distress. It did cause such distress to the wife.
The parties had very limited contact. They apparently agreed to communicate only about the children and visitation. The defendant’s husband chose to write a note about his criminal prosecution to the victim of his earlier behavior, his wife.
The jury could have reasonably concluded the note was meant to be both sarcastic and distressing to the wife. Evidence was sufficient for the jury to find defendant’s husband guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Peo. v Reynolds, 302 Ill.App.3d 722. post-it note
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