Court of Appeals of Arkansas, DIVISIONS I, II, III
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THIRTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60DR-15-5302] HONORABLE W. MICHAEL REIF, JUDGE
Worsham Law Firm, P.A., by: Richard E. Worsham, for
Ragon Owen, P.A., by: Sharon Elizabeth Echols and Christopher
L. Travis, for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge.
Christopher Chad Poland (Chad) appeals from an order of
protection that prohibited him from contacting his wife and
limited his contact with his daughter for a period of one
year. Chad's wife is appellee Meredith Poland (Meredith),
to whom he has been married for fourteen years. The parties
have one ten-year-old daughter. Chad's only argument on
appeal is that there was insufficient evidence to support the
order of protection because there was a lack of evidence that
he committed domestic abuse against either his wife or his
daughter. We affirm.
petition for a protective order is filed under the Domestic
Abuse Act, the trial court may provide relief to the
petitioner upon a finding of domestic abuse. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 9-15-205(a) (Repl. 2015). Pursuant to Arkansas Code
Annotated section 9-15-103(3)(A), "domestic abuse"
is defined as "[p]hysical harm, bodily injury, assault,
or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily
injury, or assault between family or household members."
standard of review following a bench trial is whether the
trial court's findings are clearly erroneous. Simmons
v. Dixon, 96 Ark.App. 260, 240 S.W.3d 608 (2006). A
finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence
to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is
left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed. Id. Disputed facts and
determinations of credibility are within the province of the
case was initiated by Meredith against Chad on December 30,
2015, when she filed a petition and affidavit for an order of
protection. Meredith's affidavit alleged that beginning
in September 2015 the parties' marriage had become
tumultuous, with Chad frequently yelling at her and berating
her. Meredith documented several confrontations brought on by
Chad, which culminated on December 11, 2015. During this
confrontation, Chad yelled and screamed at Meredith, and she
and her daughter wanted to leave. After Meredith went outside
to make a phone call, Chad locked her out of the house.
Meredith called the police. When the police arrived, they
arranged for Meredith and the daughter to leave the home.
on these allegations, the trial court entered an ex parte
temporary order of protection against Chad on December 30,
2015, temporarily prohibiting him from contacting Meredith or
his daughter. A final hearing was held on January 13, 2016.
January 13, 2016, the trial court entered a final order of
protection, effective for one year. By this time, Meredith
and her daughter were living in the family home, and Chad had
moved out and was living with his parents. In the final
order, the trial court found that Meredith and the daughter
were in immediate and present danger of domestic abuse. Chad
was prohibited from contacting Meredith, and he was excluded
from her residence and place of employment. Chad was also
restricted from contacting his daughter, with the exception
of reasonable phone and text contact, along with supervised
visitation every other weekend to be supervised by Chad's
final hearing, Meredith stated that the parties' marriage
had become intolerable and that they were going through a
divorce. Meredith testified about numerous incidents where
Chad had berated, physically assaulted, and threatened her.
According to Meredith, Chad had hit her legs while she was in
bed, which caused bruising. Meredith also testified that Chad
owned two guns, which were usually within his reach, and that
she was afraid of him. She said that on several occasions
Chad waved a gun at her. This happened twice between
September and December of 2015. This would happen during his
screaming episodes, and Meredith testified that, on one
occasion, Chad said that maybe he would just go ahead and
shoot everybody. According to Meredith, there were also times
when he would raise his fist at her. She further stated that,
"as for my daughter, he has threatened to whip her
Garcia, one of the parties' neighbors, testified on
behalf of Meredith. Vicki stated that during the latter
months of the parties' marriage she witnessed unsettling
arguments where Chad would scream at Meredith and berate her.
Vicki had twice called the police to report disturbances, and
she expressed concern for the safety of both Meredith and the
testified on his own behalf, and he acknowledged a difficult
marriage over the past few months after he suspected that
Meredith had been cheating on him. He acknowledged saying a
"few choice words" to Meredith, but he denied ever
threatening, berating, or abusing her. He indicated that
Meredith's allegations were all fabricated and that she
had no reason to be afraid of him.
appeal, Chad argues that the order of protection should be
reversed because there was insufficient evidence that he
committed domestic abuse as defined in the Domestic Abuse
Act. He contends that he did not assault or cause bodily
injury to anyone, nor did he inflict imminent fear of
physical harm or bodily injury. Although he may have been
verbally aggressive and controlling at times, Chad posits
that this was insufficient to sustain a protective order
where there was an absence of any physical violence or
threats of violence. Chad asserts that Meredith was being
untruthful and used the domestic-abuse proceedings as
leverage to obtain possession of the parties' house and
limit his contact with his daughter. Chad also contends that,
even were we to conclude that he ...