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Bettevy v. Bettevy

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 6, 2019

ERICA FAYE BETTEVY
v.
JAMES A. BETTEVY

          APPEAL FROM THE THIRTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ALLEN, NO. C-2019-062 HONORABLE ERROL DAVID DESHOTELS, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE

          Cory P. Roy Brandon J. Scott Benjamin D. James COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: James A. Bettevy

          Erica Faye Bettevy In Proper Person

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          BILLY HOWARD EZELL JUDGE.

         This case arises under the Domestic Abuse Assistance Act found in La.R.S. 46:2131 to 46:2140. James Bettevy appeals a judgment of the trial court granting a permanent order of protection in favor of his former spouse, Erica Bettevy. The issues on appeal are whether the trial court erred in admitting the entire record from a "Gwen's Law" hearing and in not dismissing the petition for protection from abuse for lack of specificity.

         FACTS

         Erica filed a petition for protection from abuse by James on February 6, 2019. In her petition, Erica alleged that James stopped her in Oakdale and threatened her if she continued to proceed with the property settlement following their divorce. When she told him no, he raised a gun to shoot at her. A witness drove up behind them and called 911. Erica further alleged that this was not the first time he threatened her. She also stated she was in possession of a recording of James abusing her and her children in which he stated he would kill her and burn down her house with her in it. Erica also referred to some stalking pictures.

         At the time the petition was filed, James was in the Allen Parish jail. He had been arrested for the incident that was the basis for the petition for protective order. A temporary order of protection was entered on the day the petition was filed and became effective until February 20, 2019.

         Pursuant to La.R.S. 46:2135(B), a hearing was held on February 20, 2019 to determine whether a permanent protective order should be issued. At the hearing, Erica represented herself and James was represented by private counsel. The trial court noted that a "Gwen's Law" hearing concerning the incident at issue was conducted on December 3, 2018, and accepted those proceedings by reference. Counsel for James objected to the admission of the entire proceedings. Erica also testified at the hearing for the protective order.

         Following the hearing, the court held that there was sufficient evidence to grant the order of protection, which was effective until July 28, 2020. James then filed the present appeal.

         EVIDENCE

         James first claims that the trial court erred in admitting the entire evidentiary record from the "Gwen's Law" hearing. He claims that this evidence goes well beyond the scope of the allegations set forth in the protective order.

         We first observe that the record from the "Gwen's Law" proceeding was not part of the record on appeal. James did attach the ...


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