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Mother's actions support contempt finding

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld finding a mother in contempt of court for not dismissing a protective order against her ex-husband as required by their dissolution decree. The judges also affirmed the award of compensatory damages and attorney fees to the father, but reversed a 10-day sentence imposed for future violations.

In Barbara (Rosario) Bessolo v. William I. Rosario, No. 29A02-1108-DR-789, Barbara Bessolo and William Rosario, who have a young daughter, divorced Dec. 1, 2010. As part of their mediated settlement agreement, Bessolo was to dismiss a protective order she had against Rosario by Nov. 12, although the terms of the agreement weren’t binding until it was approved by the court. Even after the decree was approved in December, Bessolo didn’t dismiss the protective order.

An incident on Dec. 5, 2010, led to Bessolo calling the police on Rosario and telling officers she had a protective order against him. Rosario was arrested, spent 20 hours in jail and had to pay $2,500 to expunge the arrest from his record. She filed for the protective order to be dismissed two days later.

Rosario then filed a motion to show cause requesting Bessolo be held in contempt for her actions. The trial court ordered Bessolo to pay $10,000 in compensatory damages, $10,000 in attorney fees, and imposed the suspended jail sentence. She appealed, but the COA affirmed.

Although the divorce wasn’t approved until Dec. 1, instead of Nov. 12 as the agreement originally stated, Bessolo still had to file to dismiss the protective order once the settlement was approved, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik. The judges upheld the monetary damages and attorney fees imposed, finding the experience was a humiliating one for Rosario. He was handcuffed in front of his young daughter in a public parking lot and had to miss a day of work. The COA reversed the imposition of the suspended jail sentence because it does not coerce current or future compliance with a specific court order. The judges also denied Rosario’s request for appellate attorney fees.  
 

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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