Video Trumps Trooper Testimony in PFA Proceeding
A non-precedential opinion of the Superior Court affirms the decision of a Lackawanna County court, which granted a Protection from Abuse order against the father of two young children. In E.B. v. H.S., No. 1906 MDA 2012 (October 1, 2013), the Father appealed a decision that granted a PFA against him, enjoining contact with his wife or two young children until they should be interviewed by a guardian ad litem. The PFA was granted after an incident in which he was videotaped in the act of threatening to give [Mother] a ‘good old fashioned butt whooping,’ restraining the child to the point where she was turning purple, and trying to lock Mother out of the house. Father elicited the testimony of a state trooper, who testified that he did not witness any crimes and none were reported. He admitted on cross examination, however, that he had not viewed the video. Father attempted to exclude the videos from evidence because they were not produced in advance of the hearing, and omitted an alleged incident in which Mother had provoked him. The Court held that Father’s objections were waived at trial, and even if they had been properly raised, they did not undermine their authenticity.
Father also argued that the PFA was inappropriate because he had exercised sole custody of the children for nine months immediately prior to the incident. Mother testified that the children went “back and forth” between the parents’ households, and the trial court found Mother to be more credible.