FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60DR-18-2044] HONORABLE MACKIE M. PIERCE, JUDGE
R. Crabtree, for appellant.
Law Firm, by: Steven A. Owings and Tammy B. Gattis, for
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
Armstrong appeals an order of protection entered against him,
claiming there was insufficient evidence to support a finding
of domestic abuse and, thus, the order's entry. We
June 2018, Hayley Armstrong petitioned the Pulaski County
Circuit Court for an order of protection on behalf of herself
and her three children. The petition was filed against her
husband, Todd, who had filed for divorce approximately six
weeks earlier. Hayley alleged that on June 3, Todd had
returned their children to her home after exercising
visitation and said that he wanted to talk to her. According
I told him that because of his hostile behavior to contact me
by text or email me. I went inside and closed the door and he
busted through the door and told me he was taking some of the
furniture and that there was nothing I could do about it. He
was very angry, and when I tried to call for help, he grabbed
my phone and threw it on the floor. He then left and said he
would be back in an hour. Because I was so afraid of what he
might do, I called my attorney, then took the kids and went
to my parents for safety.
alleged that Todd had "grabbed,"
"shaken," "pushed," and
"shoved" her in the past and that he had chased her
across the lawn. She also recounted one instance in which
Todd had "squatted down beside me and whispered to me
and told me 'Now you are going to be sorry.'"
Hayley asked the court to exclude Todd from her residence,
her parents' residence, and the children's school.
temporary order of protection was entered on June 4,
effective until June 25, when the circuit court convened a
hearing to address both Hayley's petition and the ongoing
divorce proceedings. Regarding the order of protection,
Hayley testified that she and Todd have three children and
that their oldest child, thirteen-year-old K.A., has
significant behavioral issues. Hayley said that Todd has
anger issues and had beaten K.A. with a belt for lying. She
said that Todd had also hit K.A. and that when she
intervened, Todd grabbed her, shook her, and shoved her.
Hayley also described multiple instances of verbal abuse from
Todd. Hayley recounted the June 3 incident reported in her
petition and said that immediately after that incident, Todd
shut off service to her phone and deleted all content on her
phone. She further described Todd's discipline of all
three children, which was to make them "kneel on the
hardwood floors, and face the wall." Regarding the
comment that she would "be sorry," Hayley explained
that Todd had wanted her to use his attorney for the divorce
but that she obtained her own representation. She testified
that she was afraid of Todd, that he was almost twice her
size, and that she would like the order of protection
continued at least until the divorce is final.
cross-examination, Hayley said that things with Todd had
gotten increasingly worse over their nineteen-year marriage.
She agreed that Todd had not physically touched her or
threatened physical harm during the incident on June 3 but
said that she was frightened by his behavior. She agreed that
she had not filed for divorce or filed a police report on
Todd. She also agreed that Todd had taken the children for a
week-long vacation in Florida, although he had resisted
telling her where they were going. She acknowledged taking a
trip to Bangkok in September 2017 and not contacting her
children for eleven days, but she said it was because Todd
had told her not to use her phone. When asked why she did not
call the children anyway, she responded, "I've been
told what to do, what to wear, how to be for so long, I'm
just starting to realize who I really am and not having
somebody continuously tell me how I should be."
testified that during the June 3 incident, Hayley had tried
to record him on her phone, so he grabbed her phone and
"slung it on the ground." He denied touching her or
threatening to hurt her. He also said the children were in
the backyard and did not witness the incident. He stated that
he had "never" grabbed, shaken, pushed, or shoved
Hayley. He explained that the "you'll be sorry"
comment referred to the fact that he was not going to let her
take custody of the children and he thought it was
"pointless to use two attorneys when we could have
worked everything out and been done and save[d] money."
cross-examination, Todd said that in hindsight, he should not
have thrown Hayley's phone; but he did not consider it
"bad behavior." He denied having anger problems. He
stated that he had cleared the data on Hayley's phone
because "that is the only way Verizon [will] let you
disable a phone." He said that he deactivated the phone
so he would not have to continue to pay for it, but he did
not tell Hayley before he did so.
ruling, the court found Hayley to be "very
credible" and that her testimony was "more
believable" than Todd's. The court found Hayley had
"demonstrated that she had been subjected to physical
abuse, and emotional abuse-or the word 'domestic
abuse'- such that an Order of Protection should
issue." On 25 June 2018, the court issued a final order
of protection effective until 24 June 2019. Todd has appealed
the circuit court's order.
petition for a protective order is filed under the Domestic
Abuse Act, the circuit 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(4)(A) (Supp. 2017), "domestic
abuse" is defined as "[p]hysical harm, bodily
injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of ...