FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60DR-17-1427] HONORABLE VANN SMITH, JUDGE.
A. Duke, Center for Arkansas Legal Services, for appellant.
Law Firm, by: Stephen E. Morley, for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE.
Walter appeals after the Pulaski County Circuit Court denied
and dismissed her petition for an order of protection in
favor of appellee Gerome D. Chism. On appeal, Tamekia argues
that the trial court erred when it denied and dismissed her
petition because it erroneously found that she failed to meet
her burden of proof. We affirm.
filed a petition for an order of protection on April 11,
2017, wherein she alleged that she was afraid of Gerome and
that there was an immediate and present danger of domestic
abuse stemming from an incident that occurred at Gerome's
home on April 10, 2017. The trial court granted an ex parte
temporary order of protection, and a hearing was held on the
petition on April 26 and May 1, 2017.
subsequent hearing for the order of protection, Tamekia
testified that Gerome was her boyfriend and that they had
been in a relationship for almost six years. Tamekia
testified that she had an argument with Gerome that began
about potato salad. The argument took place at Gerome's
home on April 10, 2017, around 9:30 p.m. Tamekia further
testified that when she attempted to leave, Gerome lunged at
her and grabbed her hair. Tamekia ran to Gerome's
daughter's room, but Gerome dragged her back down the
hallway to his room and hit the side of her head with a
closed fist. Tamekia additionally testified that after she
had accused Gerome of cheating on her, Gerome assaulted her
for approximately twenty minutes, kicking her in the stomach,
hitting her in the face, and choking her until she
"blacked out." After she went home, Tamekia called
the police but did not seek any medical attention. Officer
Evans responded and took photographs of the scratches on her
neck and swollen left eye. Finally, Tamekia testified that
Gerome had abused her in the past and submitted photographs
of past injuries that she alleged Gerome had caused.
Phillip Evans testified that he responded to Tamekia's
call for assistance. Officer Evans stated that Tamekia
reported that Gerome had assaulted her. Tamekia indicated
that Gerome hit her in the face and stomach. Tamekia did not,
however, advise the officer that Gerome choked her or pulled
her hair. Officer Evans observed that Tamekia had some
swelling to the left side of her face and some red marks
around her neck; however, he did not see any bruising on her
stomach. Gerome was subsequently taken into custody, wherein
he denied Tamekia's allegations.
son testified that Tamekia returned home that evening with a
black eye and seemed upset.
denied that he physically assaulted Tamekia. Gerome described
his relationship with Tamekia as mostly an "on and off
sexual relationship." On April 10th, Gerome invited
Tamekia to join him and his daughter, Justice, for leftover
barbeque for dinner. Gerome testified that Tamekia was very
jealous and immediately questioned him about whether another
woman had made the potato salad for him. After an argument
had ensued, Gerome asked Tamekia to leave, and she refused.
Gerome testified that he had to lift her up to get her out of
his home. Tamekia continued to scream at him from outside the
door and told him that she would call the police. After
Tamekia eventually left, Gerome received a text message that
she was going to take his livelihood away from him and
thanking him for another black eye. Gerome repeatedly denied
ever striking or hitting her and had no explanation for how
Tamekia received any of the injuries she alleged. Gerome
explained that Tamekia did not have any marks on her when she
left his home.
daughter, Justice, testified at the hearing and corroborated
her father's testimony. She testified that Tamekia kept
resisting and trying to hit her father when he was trying to
remove her from their home. Gerome's daughter
specifically testified that she did not see her father hit
Tamekia or grab her by the hair as Tamekia alleged. She
further testified that she did not see any marks on Tamekia
before she left their residence that night.
detailed order, the trial court denied and dismissed
Tamekia's petition for an order of protection and made
the following pertinent findings:
28. The Plaintiff has the burden of proof to show that she
was in the immediate and present danger of domestic abuse at
the time of the alleged act. If the Plaintiffs testimony
meets the burden of proof, ...