Wednesday, June 19, 2019
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The First District Court of Appeal has affirmed a civil harassment restraining order in favor of a woman who conducts religious classes in her home, rejecting the contention of a man who had attended her classes, then sent her incessant text messages despite her command that he cease and came to her home uninvited, that he was exercising his First Amendment rights.
Justice Ioana Petrou of Div. Three wrote the unpublished opinion, filed Monday. It affirms an order obtained on Oct. 9, 2018 in Contra Costa Superior Court by Angelea Raynor against Ryan S. Davis. The order also protects Raynor’s minor daughter.
Davis claimed that he simply wanted to attend Raynor’s classes and talk with her privately about religion, asserting that the restraining order impedes his rights to freedom of speech, religious liberty, freedom of association, and privacy.
Although the parties litigated below in their actual names and Davis brought his appeal in his true name, Petrou, citing nonbinding guidelines contained in a court rule, opted to refer to the appellant and respondent by their initials.
“R.D.’s claims of constitutional rights to contact by telephone, text message, and to appear uninvited at the home of A.R. to purportedly discuss religious matters do not prevail over A.R.’s constitutional rights to privacy and to determine with whom she and her daughter will associate….R.D. has not demonstrated he has a First Amendment right to send A.R. text messages that are annoying or harassing despite their purported religious content or that he has a right to come to her home to discuss religious matters despite her specific and repeated requests that he not come to her home.
“We also see no merit to R.D.’s claim that the restraining order for harassment cannot stand because he had legitimate purposes in telephoning, sending text messages, and appearing at A.R.’s home. The trial court was entitled to find that, once A.R. had informed R.D. that she did not want him to contact her or come to her home, his continued attempts to contact A.R. had no legitimate purpose.”
The case is A.R. v. R.D., A156268.
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